VIRO-FLOW: An industrial ITN

H2020 Innovative Training Networks (ITN) support competitively selected doctoral programmes, implemented by partnerships of actors from different countries across Europe and beyond. ITN aim to foster qualities like scientific excellence and innovation, as well as skills like creativity and entrepreneurship. In particular, European Industrial Doctorates (EID) programme offers candidates the opportunity to develop their skills spending at least half their PhD in a leading European company, and the rest of it in an excellent research institution.

VIRO-FLOW is the first industrial ITN led by ICIQ. The project obtained €750k together with AiCuris Anti-infective Cures GmbH, a German pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, research and development of novel antiviral and antibacterial agents for the treatment of infectious diseases. The project will be coordinated by Prof. Miquel A. Pericàs, ICIQ Director and Group Leader, and Dr. Esther Alza, ERTFLOW Technology Development Unit Manager. From AiCuris, the project will be coordinated by Dr. Helmut Buschmann, Head of Chemistry and Patents, and Dr. Thomas Goldner, Senior Scientist active in Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) research.

The VIRO-FLOW project aims to integrate the advantages of continuous flow chemistry with in vitro microfluidic bioassay technologies for the discovery of novel drugs for treatment and cure of HBV infections. Moreover, the programme will contribute to the development of innovative methodologies to allow more efficient production of new compounds with antiviral activity. These strategies could foster knowledge and technology transfer between different sectors with relevant economic impact.

The global objective of this ITN-EID programme is to provide an innovative and high-level training in drug discovery for 3 PhD candidates supported by a network of experts in virology and drug development at AiCuris, and ICIQ, which develops state of the art flow chemistry solutions through their Technology Development Unit ERTFLOW. The candidates will be selected within the next months and will start working in VIRO-FLOW in April 2018.

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