Olga Rue, CEO of Archivel Farma, and Dr Pere Joan Cardona, Scientific advisor of the company, participated in the inauguration meeting of the Horizon 2020 project STriTuVaD (In Silico Trial for Tuberculosis Vaccine), held in New Delhi, India, on 23 January in the presence of Indian and European authorities. The meeting was hosted by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) who is the Indian lead scientific in this project driven by a consortium of European, American and Indian entities.
In his inaugural speech, Dr Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), gave an overview of the research engaged in so far at national level, to address the TB burden India is facing. He had high expectations in this international consortium for finding rapidly and at affordable conditions a vaccine. Professor Dipendra K. Mitra, Head of the Department of Transplant Immunology and Immunogenetics at AIIMS, outlined how the data for the clinical trials would be collected and Dr Guleria gave an overview on the capacity at AIIMs on TB vaccine trials. Professor Marco Viceconti (Bioengineering at the University of Bologna) stressed the importance of In Silico Trials, whose development is the main aim of the STriTuVaD project.
Both Dr Reinhard Glueck (representative of Zydus Cadila, Chairman of Etna Biotech coordinator of the STriTuVaD project) and Ms Tania Friederichs, Head of Research and Innovation Section at the EU delegation to India, underlined the importance of international cooperation.
After the opening addresses, the consortium members presented the work in the project, to begin with by Dr. Epifanio Fichera from Etna Biotech who is the coordinator and who stressed importance to deliver the work according to agreed timelines to ensure a smooth implementation of the project. Prof. Francesco Pappalardo (Dept. of Drug Sciences at the University of Catania), Dr. Miguel Juarez (Lecturer of Maths & Statistics at the University of Sheffield, UK), Prof Anant Mohan (Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine, AIIMS), Dr Corey Casper (Chief Scientific Officer at IDRI), Ms Olga Rué and Dr. Pere-Joan Cardona (respectively CEO and Scientific and Clinic advisor of Archivel Farma) elaborated on how they plan the work to come to a collective success.
At the end of two days of work, the consortium emerged with a solid plan for the execution of the clinical trial where two new therapeutic vaccines developed respectively by Archivel Farma and IDRI will be tested. The trial will also be used to quantify the predictive accuracy of the UISS computer model developed by Prof. Pappalardo, capable of predicting the individual response of patients with active TB when treated with new therapies. This information will be essential in the future regulatory qualification on these in silico trials methods, which we hope will speed up and reduce the costs for the development of more effective therapies for this deadly disease