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The University of Navarra participates in two projects selected by the Ministry of Industry

The researchers who will participate in the first CÉNIT program will focus on lung cancer and controlled release of medications

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FOTO: Manuel Castells
10/04/06 16:54 Mª Pilar Huarte

The University of Navarra is participating in two of the groups approved by the Ministry of Industry in its program of National Strategic Consortia in Technical Research (CENIT). In the first place, researchers from the CIMA and from the University Hospital of Navarra will provide their scientific research concerning lung cancer to the project "Oncnosis," which, with a budget of 26.6 million euros, will focus on four types of cancer (ovarian, lung, colorectal and melanoma).

This project intends to take advantage of the market potential of the three types of businesses which make up the consortium: pharmaceutics, biotechnology and engineering/telecommunications. The platform promoted by the Ferrer Group includes, in addition to the CIMA, the corporations Oryzon Genomics, Siemens, Laboratorios LETI, Ingenasa, Integromics, Advancell and Solutex, among others. Other institutions participating in the project will include centers associated with the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, hospitals such as the University Hospital of Navarra, technological parks and universities.

In addition, the School of Pharmacy and the Radiopharmacy Service of the University Hospital will form part of the second approved group. The work of the researchers of the Special Research Line in Nanotechnologies and Controlled Release of Drugs, belonging to the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, will involve the development of nanoparticle prototypes associated with active molecules in order to facilitate their administration by distinct means. The "Nanofarma" project will have a budget of 38 million euros.

Public-private cooperation in R&D&I

Concretely, the scientists will focus on the design of new drug delivery systems capable of selectively carrying the medications to the chosen organ, tissue or target cell. This will result in a dramatic improvement in the therapeutic properties of the drugs produced by the various companies in this industry.

The laboratories Pharmamar, Neuropharma, Rovi, Lipotec and Grupo FAES are promoting the platform. In addition, centers associated with various schools of Pharmacy in Spanish universities will participate in the project. Among these are the University of Navarra, the Universidad del País Vasco and the Universidad Complutense of Madrid.
The CENIT of the Ministry of Industry seeks to foment public-private cooperation in R&D&I (research, development and innovation). The global investment will be 200 million euros over four years. During the bid period, 53 consortia presented projects, of which 16 were approved; in total, these will involve 175 businesses and more than 200 research groups with 800 professionals.

Half of the businesses involved are of either small or medium size, and the professionals come from public centers, universities, technological centers and non-profit research institutes.