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Fiocruz-Pasteur course on bioproduction, intellectual property and technology transfer


Cristina Azevedo (Fiocruz News Agency)


Fiocruz hosted, from April 8th to 12th, the Fiocruz-Pasteur Network International Course on bioproduction, intellectual property and technology transfer. In the auditorium of the Rocha Lima Pavilion, on the Manguinhos Campus in Rio de Janeiro, 11 foreign students and 7 students from different units of the Foundation discussed topics such as research, development, production, quality control, clinical studies, regulatory issues and the registration of biological products. The aim is not only to broaden knowledge, but also to promote an exchange of experiences and contact between participants, so that new partnerships can emerge.

The course aims to meet the Pasteur Network's demand on fundamental aspects of the development and production of biological products, technologies and production platforms (Photo: Pedro Linger)

The participants had to go through a selection process. In the case of foreigners, the Pasteur Network carried out an initial screening of the required documents and forwarded the candidates' files to Fiocruz for final selection. As a result, participants were chosen from Tunisia, Belgium, Iran, Vietnam, Morocco, Korea, Nigeria, Algeria, Hong Kong and Uruguay, all from Pasteur Network institutions. Among the Brazilians are professionals from Rio de Janeiro, the Aggeu Magalhães Institute (Fiocruz Pernambuco) and the Gonçalo Moniz Institute (Fiocruz Bahia).

"Fiocruz was chosen to host this event because of its diverse ecosystem, an institution that has everything from basic research to the production of good practices," explained Marco Krieger, vice-president of Health Production and Innovation (VPPIS/Fiocruz). "This allows us to effectively act in different areas of the innovation chain, and it is very important that the Pasteur Institute and the Pasteur Network have recognized the effectiveness of this ecosystem."

In a video at the opening ceremony, the special advisor to the Presidency for Cooperation with French Institutions, Wilson Savino, said that the course came about as a result of a trip to France in September 2022 by the then president of Fiocruz, Nísia Trindade Lima, now Minister of Health. In a conversation with the network's executive director, Rebecca Grais, the idea arose for the Foundation to promote the course. "It is possible that new collaborations will emerge here," said Savino.

The course is a second version of that offered to Mercosur last year. It also shows the institution's increasing involvement in the Network and with the Pasteur Institute, a relationship that has been growing increasingly. In February of this year, the president of Fiocruz, Mario Moreira, was elected one of the network's two regional representatives in the Americas. In May, the Pasteur-Fiocruz Center for Immunology and Immunotherapy, will be inaugurated on the Fiocruz Ceará campus. And in October, the Foundation will host the Annual Pasteur Network Meeting , which brings together 33 institutes and is present on practically every continent.

The course coordinators, Marco Alberto Medeiros, Innovation and Technology advisor and academic coordinator at the Immunobiological Technology Institute (Bio- Manguinhos/Fiocruz), and Carla Maia, Management and Technology coordinator at Fiocruz, explained that over 40 candidates applied, but only 18 were selected. "The idea is to promote an exchange of knowledge, to set up a network of professionals who, when they return to their countries, can pass on what they have learned to their colleagues," said Carla.

The course aims to fulfill the Pasteur Network's demand for fundamental aspects on the development and production of biological products, technologies and production platforms. It seeks to familiarize participants with the processes involved in the large-scale production of vaccines and biopharmaceuticals, including the development of mechanisms for immunizers, aspects of legislation, intellectual property and technology transfer.

Fiocruz's Deputy General Coordinator for Education, Eduarda Cesse, represented the Vice President for Education, Information and Communication (VPEIC/Fiocruz), Cristiani Machado. She emphasized that the course is the result of the efforts of both institutions, and that this week will produce many results. Rosane Cuber, Deputy Director of Quality at Bio-Manguinhos, spoke about the Policy and Regulation of Biologicals in Brazil and in the World. Manguinhos' scientific advisor Elena Caride presented a timeline of vaccine development, addressing future prospects and the need for the world to be prepared to develop a vaccine quickly in the event of a new pandemic.

Akira Homma, senior scientific advisor at Bio-Manguinhos, addressed public vaccination policies and the need to increase vaccination coverage. "Vaccination is not immunization, as no vaccine guarantees 100% protection," he explained. He pointed out that fake news involving vaccines is not new and that, lately, "vaccines have fallen off the priority agenda not only of the authorities, but of the population. We have to value vaccines. When the whole population is vaccinated, immunization becomes possible. It is possible to eradicate diseases, as in the case of smallpox. We can do that. But there is no point in a country just vaccinating its entire population. We are not alone," he said.

"I think the course can provide me with more information and experience in the field of technology transfer, especially in relation to rotavirus and pneumococci," said pharmacist Zahra Sharizadeh, from Iran's Pasteur Institute, one of the students on the course.

The course continues until Friday in the auditorium of the Rocha Lima Pavilion and includes a visit to the control and quality areas of Bio-Manguinhos. It is the result of the joint work of Bio-Manguinhos, the Center for International Relations in Health (Cris/Fiocruz), VPEIC and the Technological Management Coordination (Gestec), and the Presidency itself, through Savino's advisors, and Kathleen Victoir, head of Scientific Cooperation, Training and Career Development at Rede Pasteur.

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