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iBET is the coordinator of the “iNOVA4Health-Advancing Precision Medicine” Research Unit, a translational medicine program funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT).

This Translational research program organizes the efforts of biomedical researchers involved in biological understanding of disease, lead compounds and biopharmaceuticals pre-discovery; technological scientists involved in preclinical development; and clinicians involved in early clinical and “first-in-man” clinical trials, from institutions within NOVA University of Lisbon.

Profiting from its international reputation as a research and development center for biopharmaceuticals, iBET has reinforced links to its partners to extend research into clinical practice and first-in-man applications.

The main thrust is based on iNOVA4Health, a programme partly funded by the Portuguese grant giving Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, and coordinated by iBET.

The other three partners are CEDOC/NMS (Chronic Diseases Centre), research arm of NOVA Medical School (NMS) for fundamental and clinical research, including selected clinicians from the 10 hospitals academically linked with NMS; ITQB-NOVA (Chemistry and Biology), covering biophysics and biochemical molecular basis for drug design, IPOLFG (Oncology, www.ipolisboa.min-saude.pt), the largest cancer Hospital in Portugal (over 6000 cases a year), performing clinical work and translational research in Oncology. Biopharmaceuticals for translational work (phase I/II clinical trials), may be manufactured at GenIbet Biopharmaceuticals, an iBET spin off producing under cGMP certification.

The programme focus on 3 thematic lines: Neurological and Vision Disorders, Cardio-Metabolic Disorders and Cancer, so as to coordinate projects into synergistic programmes of research.

As from its inception, in 2015, over half of iN4H public funding is used to train researchers, new group leaders, post-docs and junior scientists, who reinforce the translational projects/programmes.

Public funding has been complemented by companies (Abbvie, Bayer, Bial, Boehringer Ingelheim, Glaxosmithkline, Merck KGaA, Novartis, Sanofi, Tecnimede) and competitive international research grants (Europeia Commission, European Research Council, H2020 ERA-NET , MIT Portugal). A major effort to attract more companies as partners will further improve iN4H excellence and benchmarking, while ensuring leverage and sustainability. By 2022, it is expected that significant cultural changes leading to excellent translational medicine research throughout the whole of iN4H and the internationalisation of networks will create a broader “foot-print” for the Lisbon area in qualified Translational Medicine.

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