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The University of Eastern Finland is one of the major European gene therapy research centres to secure 15 million euros of funding from the EU’s Horizon Europe programme for a joint project, GeneT. The GeneT project seeks to enhance advanced manufacturing and use of gene therapy drugs in the academic environment.

The project is coordinated by Professor Luis Pereira de Almeida at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. The project partners are the Coimbra Hospital and University Centre, the National Virus Vector Laboratory led by Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala at A. I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, and the Gene Therapy Innovation and Manufacturing Centre led by Professor Mimoun Azzouz at the University of Sheffield in the UK. The partners are among Europe’s leading research centres on gene therapy, and they’ve also collaborated before in the ARDAT project, which was funded by the EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiative, IMI.

The GeneT project seeks to enhance collaboration pertaining to the development of advanced manufacturing methods for gene therapy drugs, and to improve knowledge transfer and training related to their clinical use. This will facilitate the implementation of academic, clinical phase 1 and phase 2 gene therapy trials in patients. The project will create an excellent foundation for the exchange of methods and researchers between the partners, and it will also enable multicentre studies to be carried out within the framework of jointly agreed manufacturing, quality and safety standards.

The Molecular Medicine Research Group led by Ylä-Herttuala, and the National Virus Vector Laboratory, are global pioneers in the development and manufacturing of gene therapy drugs, as is also evidenced by the newly granted EU funding.

The funding was granted from the WIDERA work programme within Horizon Europe. The project also involves other very significant funding from the academic and biotechnology sectors. The duration of the project is six years.