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Fiocruz and Servier strike cooperation for medicines against chronic diseases


16/03/2022

Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)

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Through the Institute of Drug Technology (Farmanguinhos) and French laboratory Servier, Fiocruz signed, last Thursday (March 10th), a Memorandum of Understanding for technical cooperation to develop new drugs against chronic diseases, from a new pharmaceutical platform. This is an innovative technology based on the prolonged release of the active ingredient in the body, resulting in efficacy, safety, and more compliance and practicality for patients.

Nísia Trindade Lima signs the Memorandum of Understanding for technical cooperation with Servier (Image: Cito Oiticica)

Initially, the partnership involves the development of drugs to treat cardiovascular diseases, such as angina, ischemia, and hypertension. In the second phase, with acquired expertise, the new platform will also be able to be used to develop new treatment options for neglected diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and Aids, for instance.

“This new pharmaceutic industry will allow us to face the huge challenge of low compliance to treatment of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular conditions, which have high mortality rates and a large impact for the SUS and for society, and of neglected diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, with a more controlled release of the active principles in the patient’s body. This helps increase tolerability to the drugs used to treat these conditions, as today the main complaint regarding the use of currently available drugs is undesired reactions to the formula”, explains Marco Krieger, vice-president of Fiocruz’s Production and Innovation in Health.

The project is an extension of the partnership already signed between the Servier Group and Farmanguinhos/Fiocruz, which began in 2017, for the manufacturing of the drug called Vastarel 80, for the treatment of cardiac ischemia, which already uses the micropellets technology. Farmanguinhos already owns the new technology, which may facilitate the entire process of the development of new drugs.

“Servier and Fiocruz share a very peculiar history of cooperation. We have many unique and complementary characteristics. Unique, because they are both foundations dedicated to therapeutic progress, to people’s health. Complementary because of the shared conviction that innovation is the fruit of cooperation. At Servier we are convinced that this cooperation with Fiocruz brings a huge potential of benefitting patients in Brazil, simplifying compliance to a treatment that can be adapted to their needs, in particular in cardiovascular diseases”, celebrates Olivier Laureau, president of the Servier Group.

For Jorge Mendonça, director of Farmanguinhos, the new platform will make it possible to develop systems that release substances, also in combination, and in interdependence, improving the safety profile and the efficacy of drugs. “With this new technology, we can combine more than one active principle in the same pharmaceutical form. In the case of Aids, for instance, we could think of developing a single drug, to not only reduce the number of capsules these patients must take now, but also to increase tolerability”, he explains.

Future partnerships in oncology

In addition to the Farmanguinhos/Fiocruz agreement, the visit of the president of Servier Group, Olivier Laureau, to Brazil will also mark the first meetings for a partnership between the group and Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz to develop innovation in the field of oncology. In this first moment, workshops have been planned, involving teams of Brazilian researchers and of the French group to present and map projects that may be complementary to each other, through technical cooperation.

“The goal is to identify one or more projects of common interest to establish a partnership between the institutions, for joint development, with gains in oncologic therapy and innovation”, highlights Mauricio Zuma, director of Bio-Manguinhos.

As cancer is becoming the second main cause of death worldwide, Servier has turned oncology into one of its priorities, with more than 50% of its investments made on research in this area. “The Group concentrates its efforts on cancer, those that are harder to treat, for specific population groups, such as cancer of the digestive tract, of the blood, and in children”, clarifies Matthieu Fitoussi, general director of Servier in Brazil. “We are strongly convinced that the partnership with Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz in oncology will be very important for the advancement of research lines that will benefit patients in Brazil.

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