UCA and Curaxys create a Cathedra in biopharmaceuticals in order to research biosimilar proteins
Curaxys CEO will dedicate their practice in biological drug development and will train researchers and biotechnology managers
The University of Cadiz, and the biopharmaceutical company Curaxys S.L., introduced the new Cathedra Curaxys this morning, which aims to promote and facilitate the research in biotechnology led to the production of therapeutic biosimilar proteins, with views to its clinical application, in addition, researchers will be trained as well as, technologists and professionals of health sciences in the clinical application of biotechnological knowledge.
The Dean of the University of Cádiz, Diego Sales, and Curaxys CEO, Manuel Esteban, signed a collaboration agreement in the collegiate building la Bomba this morning, where the Director of the Cathedra Curaxys, Carmen Castro, made the public presentation. Sales highlighted the relevance of this project in the society of Cádiz, being led by a prestigious Gaditan scientist and also because she has succeeded in uniting in the Cathedra “the knowledge of several research groups in biomedicine as a tool for social services, through training, research and transfer of results.”
Esteban reminded that Curaxys S.L. will develop in El Puerto de Santa María a biopharmaceutical centre and a plant, which will produce injections. A relevant project, whose main feature is the added value given to the natural products the researchers will work with, such as oil or sugar, which will be used for bio-similar medication. The spokesman of Curaxys S.L. said the Cathedra will integrate “all the positive values of the University and Curaxys S.L, with the support of the agency IDEA and the Foundation for Biomedicine.”
The Director of the Chair, Professor Carmen Castro said that “the therapeutic proteins are drugs that are biological in nature and have been used in recent years for the treatment of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, lupus or cystic fibrosis. In this category, there are substances such as insulin, which is well-known for its important role in the treatment of diabetes, interferon, which is used to treat some types of cancer, or rituximab for the treatment of lupus or erythropoietin, also known as EPO, is also being used for the treatment of anemia of renal origin”.
Similarly, Castro recalled that “these drugs are very expensive and are sometimes the only existing treatment for diseases of this kind.” The causes of the high cost of these substances are due to the complex production process. However the solution could arrive soon “because the patents on these drugs are beginning to wither away, issue that favors the start-up of producing bio-similar proteins with a more innovative and competitive biological process”.
As opposed to the chemical nature of the drugs, the production of biological substances is costly and not easy to carry-out, having to occur within a living organism, so it requires the complicated tools of biotechnology. Therefore, the production of this type of biogenerics poses a major challenge to both the company and the university.
In terms of training, it has been decided to establish an investigative pre-doctoral scholarship, which will persist last four years, for the attainment of a doctoral thesis in the field of biotechnology applied to therapeutic proteins. We also intend to create a Masters in Biotechnology, but “before we had proposed the creation of an Expert degree in Biotechnology, clearly directed to the area of business.” While these goals are being fulfilled, “in a short term period, we will focus on collaborating with the Master programme in Biomedicine”, said Professor Carmen Castro.
The Curaxys Cathedra initiated its innovative activity with a team of researchers from the company Curaxys SL and a Scientific Committee constituted by members of the Department of Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Public Health of the UCA, an area addressed by Professor Jesús Manuel Cantoral.
Therapeutical proteins of biological origin
The company is located in TecnoBahía, that hopes to enjoy the new facilities during the second half of 2012 and create 90 direct jobs and 270 indirect jobs. This business initiative is supported by the Action Plan Competitive Bay (Agency IDEA, Andalusian Government) and the Plan of Reindustrialisation of the Bay of Cádiz, sponsored by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade.
* Recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies or nucleic acids equivalent to an original treatment that can be manufactured after the expiration of the patents. Drug patents extinguished, which come from non-chemical proteins, such as insulin, the hormone EPO and growth hormone, among others.
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