In a quest to cure chronic virological diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, Bristol-Myers Squibb has asked European researchers—notably junior faculty and young investigators—to submit innovative research ideas to accelerate novel solutions as part of its Partnering for Cure program.
The four researchers with the best ideas will share more than $414,000 from BMS. The winners will be announced Dec. 1, which is World AIDS Day.
Priority will be given to research proposals in the area of translational science, particularly for the clinical development of a cure in viral hepatitis or HIV infection.
“The Partnering for Cure Program is a first-of-its-kind Europe-wide initiative sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb designed to accelerate innovative research ideas into viral diseases,” said company spokesman Jeff Smith. “The program was launched in October 2013 by a faculty of independent virology experts and the company, with shared goals of supporting breakthrough research and facilitating greater collaboration and knowledge sharing with the clinical virology community.”
Last year, more than 50 applications were submitted from several European countries, from junior faculty and tenure-tracked young investigators working closely with the scientific community in the virology field, added Smith.
One of the four winners was Matthieu Perreau, a researcher from Allergie Switzerland. His research was on the identification of the memory CD4 T-cell populations harboring replication competent HIV-1 within lymphoid tissues.
“This year, we were proud to announce our first class of Partnering for Cure Research program recipients in January,” said Jurgen Rockstroh, Partnering for Cure Faculty Chair. “Now we are looking for even more proposals to expand our clinical network and continue the fight against chronic viral diseases through the 2014 program.”
The Partnering for Cure Faculty is a European medical education program with the objectives of educating physicians interested in virology cure research and aiding researchers active in the field. It also provides a forum for physician and researchers to discuss advances in virology.
The Global Burden of Disease Study reported 1.47 million deaths caused by HIV/AIDs in 2012, and 1.45 million deaths from viral hepatitis in 2010. A 2013 report from the World Health Organization reported infections with hepatitis B and C viruses leads to an estimated 57% of all cases of liver cirrhosis and 78% of all cases of primary liver cancer annually.
“We look forward to this year’s applications and supporting the upcoming generation of researchers and scientists who are dedicated to improving treatments and delivering true advances in patient care,” said George Hanna, M.D., vice president, HIV development at BMS.