Firalis Group has launched the EU-funded (EUROSTAR) MiPROG Program

The EU-funded (EUROSTAR) MiPROG program has been launched on 4th of December 2015 by Firalis Group in collaboration with the Luxemburg Institute of Health (LIH), Lifesequencing S.L. (Valencia, Spain), and the Medical School of Hannover (MHH) (Hannover, Germany). In the frame of this €1.8 million research program, the consortium will develop an innovative diagnostic miRNA-based test for heart failure (HF) development after acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

Heart failure (HF) is a life-threatening condition affecting nearly 15 million Europeans and every day 10,000 people are newly diagnosed. Despite the prevalence, most people fail to recognize the symptoms, believing that many are misdiagnosed or incorrectly attribute the signs to growing older.

Following an AMI, a significant proportion of patients develops HF due to change in shape, structure and physiology of the heart. HF is associated with increased patient mortality and morbidity. Indeed, HF is the main cause of hospital admission in the EU and the prognosis remains poor with 60-70% death rates within five years in post AMI patients. Recently, novel therapies have been introduced to prevent cardiac remodelling and preserve cardiac function. The efficacy of these novel therapies has been shown in clinical trials, denoting a revolutionary development in cardiovascular care. Newly, Novartis’ heart failure medicine Entresto™ received EU approval, highlighting the urgent need for a diagnostic test that allows early detection of AMI patients at risk of developing HF who would benefit from early treatment.

Currently, no assay exists for early treatments to stop progression of HF. The discovery of miRNA signatures with significant prognostic value for HF in AMI patients by the LIH now allows us to develop a prognostic assay. In this project, the MiPROG consortium will discover and validate a complete set of prognostic miRNAs aiming to develop an in vitro diagnostic test that enables risk stratification of AMI patients. This stratification will help clinicians to apply a personalized treatment suitable for each individual patient in order to reduce the incidence of HF. The availability of such a test would allow more effective treatment and drastic reduction of the burden of HF on healthcare systems.

This European Grant is the recognition of Firalis competence and expertise in developing products in this area of unmet medical needs. The MiPROG Team will validate a “first-in-class product” for early diagnosis of heart failure prediction”, said Huseyin Firat, CEO of Firalis.

MiPROG is a joint initiative of Cardiolinc network members (www.cardiolinc.org)

Information about the participants:

Firalis Group (Project Coordinator):

Firalis Group is a SME life sciences company, creating novel values via biomarker discovery, development and regulatory qualifications; to establish an internal portfolio of biomarker-based diagnostic methods and to provide customized biomarker solutions. Firalis is active in the field of drug safety, cardiovascular, inflammatory, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. The company has been awarded with several national and international prizes for its innovative approaches. Firalis Group is certified ISO 13485 and ISO 9001 for the development and production of CE-marked assays and certified ISO 17025 for testing laboratory.

Luxembourg Institute of Health:
The cardiovascular research group of the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), is a key participant of the project. The LIH is a top public research organisation in life sciences. The Laboratory of Cardiovascular Research (led by Dr. Wagner and Dr. Devaux) has extensive scientific expertise and uses state-of-the-art equipment for discovery and development of cardiovascular biomarkers. This laboratory has expertise in prognostic aspects of the development of heart failure following myocardial infarction, and owns patents on biomarkers of heart failure that will be investigated in the MiPROG project.

Medical School of Hannover:
The Medical School of Hannover is a leading research and medical institute in Germany. The Institute for Molecular and Translational Therapeutic Strategies (IMTTS) of MHH will be part of this project. The head of IMTTS, Professor Thum, is internationally recognized for his achievements in cardiovascular research and has received multiple awards for his outstanding work. The IMTTS developed a strong expertise in constructing non-coding RNA-based therapeutic strategies in cardiovascular and transplantation medicine.

Lifesequencing:
Lifesequencing, is specialized in genomic research and massive DNA/RNA/miRNA sequencing. The company offers services in (de novo) whole genome resequencing, transcriptome and amplicon sequencing and bioinformatic interpretation with ISO 9001 and illumina CSPro certification. Furthermore, Lifesequencing develops and optimizes bioinformatic methods for the sequencing of human samples to allow high throughput use of novel samples and amplification of small volumes. Since 2007, they have established a large network of client in various industrial sectors as well as public and private research institutes.

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