Accelerate biotechnology

Next-geneneration gene therapy for patients with heart disease

The European Union has awarded €15 million to the CardioReGenix consortium, as part of the Horizon2020 program. The research program is initiated to develop new gene therapy approaches for the treatment of heart disease. The program is coordinated by Professor Marinee Chuah from the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and includes thirteen international partners, including Batavia Biosciences.

The World Health Organisation estimates that a staggering 17.7 million people die each year from cardiovascular disease, this represents about 31% of all deaths worldwide.  The aim of the CardioReGenix consortium is to develop new gene therapy treatments to treat cardiovascular diseases. The funding from the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Grant Agreement no. 825670 will be used to identify the best technologies and methods for transferring protective genes into the heart. The project includes clinical testing of the most promising gene transfer approach identified.

The 5-year research project was selected after a highly competitive international call for proposals and involves key players in the field including the Free University of Brussels (Belgium), University of Eastern Finland (Finland), A2F-Associates Limited (UK), Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Germany), King’s College London (UK), University of Edinburgh (UK), Foundation VUMC (Netherlands), Finvector OY (Finland), Batavia Biosciences (Netherlands), Cardior Pharmaceuticals GmbH (Germany), Asphalion SL (Spain), Phosjois-Savon Sairaanhoitopiirin (Finland) and Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel (Germany).

Prof. Marinee Chuah, VUB, commented: “This is a very exciting and important opportunity for this research consortium to find new ways to help manage and treat heart disease. In Europe it is the number one killer of people and any reduction in this death rate would be a very positive outcome for our European collaboration.”

Dr. Menzo Havenga, CEO Batavia Biosciences, added: “As a recognized viral vector expertise center, we are very proud to be part of this international consortium and deliver novel gene therapy modalities to the team”.  In this research program, Batavia Biosciences will take a key role, including production of a promising, novel adenoviral vector for the delivery of diverse genetic payloads.