EIC Pathfinder Open success: Two Catalyze partners secure funding

We are pleased to announce that with the support of the Catalyze team, two of our partners successfully secured funding from the 2022 round of the EIC Pathfinder Open. The 3D-BrAIn project is led by the Erasmus Medical Center (NL) Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiological Psychiatry Group, while the NANO-ENGINE project is led by NanoCell Therapeutics (NL). Read on to learn more about the winning projects, and to hear the thoughts of project leaders, Dr. Femke de Vrij, of Erasmus MC, and Dr. Maurits W. Geerlings, President & CEO of NanoCell Therapeutics.

Erasmus MC: 3D-BrAIn

Erasmus MC’s winning EIC Pathfinder project, “Revolutionary high-resolution human 3D brain organoid platform integrating AI-based analytics”, or 3D-BrAIn, is led by the Erasmus MC Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiological Psychiatry Group. The project consortium is completed by the University of Genoa, Department of Mathematics’ Life Science Computational Lab (IT), the Max PLANCK Institute of Psychiatry (DE), and 3Brain AG (CH).

The long-term vision of the 3D-BrAIn consortium is to revolutionize personalized precision medicine for central nervous system (CNS) disorders, by developing an innovative bio-digital twin model of the human brain that is personalized, precise, and predictive.

Together, the consortium aim to create a unique technology combination of: 1) a novel, highly reproducible human brain modelling technology using robust adherent induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived 3D cortical organoid cultures, 2) a unique, state-of-the-art 3D multi-electrode array technology for non-invasive high-resolution electrophysiological recordings, and 3) a novel approach to analyze and interpret the large quantities of functional data and dynamic properties using tailored biology-inspired automated artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.

Once all individual components are optimized and integrated, proof-of-concept will be obtained by validating the platform for two of the envisaged applications: CNS drug development and neurotoxicity screening.

Dr. Femke de Vrij comments on their EIC Pathfinder Open success and collaboration with Catalyze:

“The Pathfinder grant allows our consortium to start this very exciting project with the common goal of integrating our complementary disciplines for creating a novel state-of-the-art human brain modelling platform that would not be possible without this funded collaboration.

“Catalyze has been instrumental in getting our Pathfinder application to its final stage, with dedicated expertise, professionalism and pleasant communication.”

NanoCell Therapeutics: NANO-ENGINE

NanoCell Therapeutics’ winning EIC Pathfinder project, “A revolutionary cell programming platform based on the targeted nano-delivery of a transposon gene editing system”, or NANO-ENGINE, leverages NanoCell’s deep knowledge on non-viral gene transfer technologies. The NANO-ENGINE project consortium is formed by Imperial College London (UK), Sintef AS (NO), Karolinska Institute (SE), and Utrecht University (NL).

The long-term vision of the consortium is to develop a first-in-class, DNA-based, non-viral, targeted in vivo cell programming technology that can be utilized for treating a broad range of diseases, including cancer and genetic disorders. This will meet a major unmet need for more accessible cell therapies, specifically CAR-T cell therapy, for the general patient population.

During the project, the consortium aims to assemble, characterize, and test Targeted Nanoparticles that generate CAR-T cells in vivo, explore small-scale synthesis, conduct proof-of-concept studies and establish a basis for future commercialization.

The resulting Targeted Nanoparticles will address core issues limiting the utility of such therapies by reducing cost, complexity and clinical risks – thereby greatly increasing accessibility of cell therapies to patients worldwide.

Dr. Maurits W. Geerlings, comments on the significance of the award and the value of Catalyze’s support:

“The EIC Pathfinder grant validates the importance of the consortium’s proposed approach to tackling critical unmet needs within the cell & gene therapy space, and stimulates public-private partnership in the interest of patients and society.

“The consortium has welcomed Catalyze’s involvement in the preparation of a successful application in a highly competitive grant environment.”


Interested in applying to EIC Pathfinder?

Download our EIC Pathfinder 2023 Guide to learn more.


EIC Pathfinder: Further reading


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