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Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: BG-03-2014 | Award Amount: 4.75M | Year: 2015

Surfactants and emulsifiers constitute an important class of chemical agents that are widely used in almost every sector of modern industry. The huge market demand is currently met almost exclusively by synthetic, mainly petroleum-based, chemical products, which are usually non-biodegradable and mostly toxic or GM plant based products (used in foods), which are undesirable by some end-users. Their biologically produced counterparts (i.e. bio-surfactants and bio-emulsifiers) offer more green sustainable alternatives. This has led to a number of manufactures, looking for ways to increase competitiveness through searching for underexploited sources such as the marine environment. Our objectives are to develop (1) innovative approaches in discovering, characterizing and producing novel marine-derived bio-surfactants from a large bacterial collection (greater than 500 strains) housed at Heriot Watt University, originally isolated from various coastal and open ocean waters around the world, (2) novel, economic, and eco-friendly end-products with commercial applications in order to replace synthetic counterparts, and (3) to demonstrate the functionality of new product development for commercial exploitation. Our collection consists of novel bacterial species, originally isolated for their ability to degrade oils, with proven promise in this respect. For this reason, our consortium (consisting of academic institutions, industrial companies and end-users) offering a wide range of expertise, will address the technical bottlenecks for meeting our objectives, namely those of marine resource identification, sustainable supply, discovery pipeline and efficient production in biological systems. The relevance of our proposal to the work programme is underlined by its expected impact in increasing efficiency of discovery pipelines, the development of more economic and eco-friendly end-products and finally in contributing to the implementation of the objectives of the EU Blue Growth.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP.2013.1.2-2 | Award Amount: 13.07M | Year: 2014

Increase in antibiotic resistance is a global concern worldwide. The project NAREBs main objective is the optimization of several nanoformulations of antibacterial therapeutics in order to improve the therapy of multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) and MRSA infections in European MDR patients. NAREB will address the problem of drug bioavailability inside the infected macrophages, transport across the bacterial cell wall, and avoidance of escape mechanisms (expressed by the pathogen). The success of the utilization of nanoparticles in the improvement of drug targeting in other diseases opens the way for novel applications in nanotechnology-based treatments aimed at controlling MDR-TB and MRSA. Specific objectives to achieve the main goal are: (i) Screening of different combinations of antibiotic drugs (small chemical molecules and/or biomacromolecules - glycopeptides) with nanocarriers (lipid, polymeric, biopolymeric); (ii) Loading of Transcription Factor Decoys (TFDs) designed to block the expression of essential bacterial genes in compatible nanoparticle systems and their testing as novel antibacterials; (iii) In vitro and in vivo testing of the best therapeutic combinations in relevant experimental models and using innovative bioimaging; (iv) Improved formulations of multifunctional particles containing selected antibiotics and TFDs for increasing the bioavailability of active molecules in the site of infection (targeting strategy, adapted route of administration) (v) Assessing safety, regulatory and production (GLP/GMP) aspects in relation with the most promising nanoformulations; (vi) Clinical Development Plan for the preparatory work for the subsequent clinical testing of the selected nanoformulations. The project NAREB brings together 15 partners (including 4 SMEs and 1 industry) from 8 EU Member and Associated States with outstanding complementary expertise, ranging from material engineering to molecular biology, pharmacology and medicine.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NMP-10-2014 | Award Amount: 8.00M | Year: 2015

The key therapeutic issue in diabetes mellitus type I and II is glycaemic control. Reductions of constant self-control, of insulin injections, and of long-term complications would have tremendous benefit for quality of life. The best therapy option is the transplantation of allogeneic islet cells, but the current state of the art limits the applicability of this approach. Implanting unprotected grafts requires lifelong administration of immunosuppressants, and protecting the cells against adverse immune reactions by current encapsulation strategies reduces their functionality and survival to an extend that makes frequent refresher implantations necessary. Currently, a maximum of 2 years glycaemia regulation has been shown for the encapsulated approach. In BIOCAPAN, bringing experts from different fields all together, we aim at developing an innovative treatment, based on the implantation of allogeneic islet cells that are embedded in a complex microcapsule. We will design a GMP-grade bioactive microcapsule that will maximize the long-term functionality and survival of pancreatic islets by prevention of pericapsular fibrotic overgrowth, in situ oxygenation, innovative extracellular matrix microenvironment reconstruction and immune-system modulation. We will establish a GMP-grade microfluidic microencapsulation platform to protect freshly harvested islets quickly in a standardized and reproducible way. We aim for full preclinical validation and we will establish a complete protocol in accordance with the provisions of the Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products Regulation, in order to start clinical trials within one year after the end of the project. We aim for 5-years insulin injection free treatment, without immunosuppressants, which would tremendously benefit diabetes mellitus patients who require insulin (all Type I and about one in six Type II Diabetes Mellitus patients).


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: SME-1 | Phase: BIOTEC-5a-2014-1 | Award Amount: 71.43K | Year: 2015

NANOIMMUNOTECH (NIT), a leading company in nanobiotechnology with know-how that has been applied to the field of nanobiosensing and especially the agro-food sector introduces HEATSENS in the poultry industry: a solution that transforms into a portable and easy-to-use device with its most cutting-edge know-how in biosensors. HEATSENS is based on a revolutionary nanobiosensing technology owned by the company, whose main characteristics (highly sensitive, rapid detection and simplicity) are the ideal response to a clear need in this sector to test for Salmonella. Salmonella is the second most commonly reported gastrointestinal infection, requiring hospitalisation in many cases, and it can be fatal. One of the most common ways of contracting it is by eating contaminated chicken meat; thus meat companies are required to carry out periodic tests, for which they send samples to specialist laboratories that have a response time of up to 7 days for the analyses, which may mean financial losses. Given that this technology fits into the NIT development strategy, it was decided to perform proofs of concept with several companies in the sector, which clearly showed that HEATSENS_S detects Salmonella at a higher sensitivity in only 3 hours. In light of these results, these potential customers have already shown their keen interest in HEATSENS_S. Now, its conversion into an easy-to-use portable device makes performing in-house testing possible throughout the production chain, providing companies with greater control over product quality and avoiding losses associated with contamination not detected in time, all at a lower cost than current tests today. NIT Management considers this to be the optimum catalyst for the growth of the company and its expansion worldwide and HEATSENS, the flagship product, to make their efforts profitable in nanobiosensing.

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