Shifting from treating symptoms to curing diseases and making Europe the world leader in Advanced Therapies is the aspiration of RESTORE – the Large-Scale Research Initiative, led by Charité and BIH. On February 08, the European Commission (EC) backed that vision and announced that RESTORE will receive initial funding of EUR 1m and invited the consortium to fully develop their concept and to further expand the community that strives to propel Europe to the forefront in Advanced Therapies.
As a successful Large-Scale-Research Initiative RESTORE will eventually disburse up to EUR 1 billion over ten years from the EC (as part of the research framework program Horizon Europe) to deliver a pipeline of transformative cures for the benefit of struggling patients. RESTORE will promote groundbreaking research, nurture innovative companies and engage the public; its concept is supported by a broad international and interdisciplinary community of stakeholders, who united behind the mission to make patient-centered value at high ethical and quality standards a reality.
The implementation of newly developed Advanced Therapies (Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products and Biologised Medical Devices), frequently called “living drugs”, in clinical routine holds tremendous promise and is the unifying goal of the RESTORE initiative. Formed by eminent leaders from European academia, clinics and industry, RESTORE is coordinated by Professor Hans-Dieter Volk, a clinical immunologist and his team at the BIH-Center for Regenerative Therapies (BIHCRT) and the Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies (BeCAT) of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Berlin Institute of Health (BIH).
“Advanced Therapies are a potential game changer in health care and aim to shift the current focus from the ´chronic treatment of disease´ towards the ´regeneration of health´. We see a growing number of breathtaking success stories with patients cured suffering from end-stage disease; at the same time there are many challenges to implement these promising therapies into routine. The ambitious RESTORE initiative provides a unique opportunity for us to overcome current hurdles in technology, manufacturing, clinical management, and reimbursement; we are determined to translate promising research into safe therapies that cure patients by working together across disciplines and country borders on this mission”, says Professor Volk.
The RESTORE core team are world leaders from basic and clinical research and biotech industry: Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Germany), INSERM – Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche (France), University of Zurich (Switzerland), Miltenyi Biotec GmbH (Germany), TissUse GmbH (Germany), Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (United Kingdom), Pluristem Ltd (Israel), Innovation Acta S.r.l. (Italy), Fondazione Telethon Milan (Italy) and University Minho (Portugal). More than 250 stakeholders from basic and clinical science, industry, non-profit organizations and patient advocates throughout Europe and beyond have pledged support for RESTORE’s urgent mission, underlining the potential of Advanced Therapies for science, the economy and public health.
Professor Volk adds: “We read the EC’s decision to support RESTORE in three ways; appreciating patients’ need for better therapy options, recognizing the underlying quality of research efforts across Europe and encouraging a highly collaborative endeavor to lead in this important area. Today we celebrate and thank our partners and supporters – we are fortunate to have them. Tomorrow, we will begin our yearlong journey towards the competition’s final round: engaging the community, defining the challenges and setting out our RESTORE plan to make Advanced Therapies a clinical reality that works for every patient who need it.”
Please visit the RESTORE website (www.restore-h2020.eu) for more details on the activities of the initiative and to become supporters.
About Large-Scale Research Initiatives (LSRI): With LSRI (formerly called FET Flagships), the EC has created a new approach for cooperative research in Europe: They are science- and technology-driven, large-scale multidisciplinary research initiatives. The aim is to attract the best scientists and to establish long-term centers of excellence in Europe and associated countries that are world leaders in their field.
About the BIHCRT (www.bcrt.charite.de): The BIHCRT is an interdisciplinary translational center with the primary goal of enhancing endogenous regeneration by cells, biomaterials, and factors and supporting replacement strategies which can be used to develop and implement innovative therapies and products. The primary focus of the BIHCRT is on diseases of the immune system, the musculoskeletal system, the cardiovascular system and clinical cross-fields such as tissue homeostasis & cachexia and rare diseases. Funded from 2006-18 as BCRT by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, it will transit beginning 2019 as BIHCRT into the Berlin Institute of Health.
About BeCAT (www.becat.charite.de): The BeCAT was recently founded with a 30 Mio € grant by the German Council of Science and Humanities. It has the goal to strengthen the infrastructure, expertise, mindset, and platforms for the development and clinical translation of new Advanced Therapies in Regenerative Medicine and Hematooncology.