Barcelona, Spain (PRWEB) March 26, 2006
ONCNOSIS-PHARMA AIE, a new born joint venture company between Spanish companies of diverse and complementary technological capabilities and public research institutions of proven excellence has been awarded with one of the first sixteen CENIT grants by the Spanish Government.
Onconosis is to form the spearhead of Spanish molecular diagnostic research and to be a prominent global competitor in cancer. Cancer, the second most common cause of death in the western world, is generally defined as unchecked cell growth and the spread of abnormal cells. Whilst there have been significant advances in cancer treatment in recent years, there is clearly great scope for improvement.
ONCNOSIS aims to help fill this unmet need by discovering novel molecular tools, therapeutic compounds and developing new technological approaches for disease diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. The cancers selected in the ONCNOSIS programme are melanoma (cancer of pigment - containing skin cells), lung, colon and ovarian cancer. Each of these cancers is prevalent and they provide a broad spectrum of challenges which demand a range of different treatments.
The ONCNOSIS consortium has been coordinated by ORYZON GENOMICS (http://www.oryzon.com) and GRUPO FERRER INTERNACIONAL (http://www.ferrergrupo.com) and consists of nine companies which participate in the joint venture and one large multinational, SIEMENS, which will act in concert with the joint venture but without direct membership. Associated with ONCNOSIS are 20 publicly -funded centres of research excellence throughout Spain: six research hospitals, six universities and eight independent research centres. The total budget for the four years project is set to almost 30 Million Euros. Half of that sum will be provided by the Spanish Government through the recently issued CENIT grants.
The responsibility for the biomarker discovery of the ONCNOSIS programme is assigned exclusively to Oryzon Genomics, one of the largest Spanish biotech’s companies. OG is focused in functional genomics, has its HQs in Barcelona with an international staff of 40 persons ans is specialized in various –omics technologies. The company is one of the major European experts in different applications of the DNAarray technologies.
Bioinformatic analysis of the potential markers will be also performed by Oryzon in conjunction with Integromics, a young Bioinformatic company based in Madrid. Confirmation studies will be carried out by LETI a pharma company based in Barcelona, Ingenasa and Advancell. The validation of the biomarkers as potential therapeutic targets will be evaluated by the ONCNOSIS academic groups, and by two companies; Advancell, is a Catalan company specialised in in vitro target validation and CIMA SL, a flagship private research institution based in Navarra. Target validation will be performed using biochemical, cell biological and whole organism (experimental animal) models. Once analyzed the biomarkers, ONCNOSIS will try to identify molecules acting on validated targets; compound libraries will be screened for hits by Grupo Ferrer International SA. Ferrer is one of the largest Spanish pharmaceutical company (the 3rd largest company by turnover) and is a profoundly international company (with representation in 38 countries).
Additionally, candidate biomarkers will in parallel be evaluated for their applicability for imaging employing nanobiotechnology by Siemens, a major global company highly competitive in the field of diagnosis by imaging and telemedicine, in cooperation with Oryzon Genomics and Solutex (a company headquartered in Zaragoza and with its R&D facilities in the PTM of Madrid) who have experience with nanomagnetic particles.
The partners and associates of the ONCNOSIS joint venture have extensive international research involvement. Among them we can mention CNIO, Barcelona Science Park, Hospitals 12 de Octubre from Madrid, Vall d’Hebron form Barcelona, Institut Catalan d’Oncologia or Hospital Universitario de Navarra-CIMA and several universities and centers of research as for instance the Institute of Nanotechnology of Barcelona and The Institute of Nanomaterials of Aragon.