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3D-NET IAPP project "Drug Discovery and Development of Novel Eye Therapeutics"

A new European research consortium of industry and academic partners will focus efforts for drug discovery and development of novel eye therapeutics to halt or reverse ocular diseases leading to blindness.

3D-NET kick off meeting at the Conway Institute in UCD. From left to right on the photo: Dr Yolanda Fernandez (Gadea); Dr Yolanda Diebold (University of Valladolid); Drs Rob Jones and Sharon Cheetham (RenaSci); Dr Breandan Kennedy (UCD, project coordinator); Dr Robert Haigh (KalVista) and Dr Yolanda Alvarez (UCD, project manager)

The project "Drug Discovery & Development of Novel Eye Therapeutics" (3D-NET) will be funded through a €1.8 million Marie Curie Industry-Academia Pathways and Partnerships (IAPP) grant award from the EU Seventh Framework Programme (612218/3D-NET).

Dr Breandan Kennedy from the UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science, at the Conway Institute in University College Dublin (Ireland) will lead and coordinate the consortium that includes researchers from the University of Valladolid (Spain), KalVista Pharmaceuticals (UK), RenaSci Ltd (UK) and Gadea Grupo Farmacéutico (Spain).

Millions of people worldwide suffer from ocular diseases that deteriorate their quality of life. Conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or diabetic retinopathy (DR) are leading causes of irreversible blindness, and are a growing problem as the worldwide population ages.

There is a significant unmet clinical need for more effective treatments to halt or reverse these ocular diseases. The consortium aim to discover, test and develop novel anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory anti-vessel hyper-permeability and cell-protectant molecules to fight against these eye diseases. 3D-NET partners include leading researchers in front- and back-of-the-eye disease and synthetic chemistry

For the first time, the consortium exchanges cross-European industry and academic expertise in the development of drugs with potential to treat ocular disease enhancing the capabilities and infrastructure required to test these drugs in relevant pre-clinical models.

Commenting on the award announcement, Dr Breandan Kennedy said, "Through 3D-NET, the discovery and development of safe and efficacious ocular drugs will significantly improve the quality of life of patients with blinding conditions and reduce the associated economic burden in Ireland and across Europe".