FG2G EB House Program Grant Round 2023
underwritten by EB Resnet member DEBRA Austria.
EB House Program Grant
Submissions to this funding scheme are by invitation only and limited to researchers associated with the EB House Austria. This grant scheme is provided and funded by DEBRA Austria.
To realise its mission, DEBRA Austria created the EB House Austria, a Centre of Expertise for EB in Europe, combining a specialised Outpatient Clinic, a Research Unit, a Clinical Study Centre, and the Academy. Since it opened its doors in 2005, EB House has been offering state-of-the-art medical care to patients. Funded by DEBRA Austria and located in Salzburg, patients from Austria and beyond are here treated by dedicated medical staff combining highly specialized knowledge, a wealth of experience, and a great deal of empathy. Physicians and researchers at EB House work closely to develop further promising laboratory findings into therapeutic options for patients as quickly as possible.
The EB Research Unit hosts several working groups which perform research in diverse fields such as cell/gene therapy, immunology, cancer, and wound healing. Their work is geared towards improving symptoms, halting or reversing the progression of cancer, repairing genetic defects, and restoring the functionality of epithelia. The Clinical Study Centre is currently participating in six clinical studies, whereas another four have been recently completed. Further to this, a dozen additional clinical studies are in the pipeline. Most of these clinical studies are investigator-initiated academic trials funded via grants, but some are supported by industry partners or based on research contracts.
Re-organising the EB Research Unit
DEBRA Austria created EB House in 2005 to fill a vacuum in EB expertise and knowledge. Since then, we have been providing significant core funding and investing in capacity-building efforts to create a world-class hub for EB research and clinical translation. While we’ve gained valuable insight into the biology of EB, we have also witnessed minimal progress in the transfer of outcomes to the clinic. In 2019, we left behind the “pioneering phase” and embarked on a reorganization process that we named “From good to great-FG2G”.
The main goal of this process is to give EB House research a decisive translational push by focusing on a goal-driven portfolio of strategic core research programs aiming to answer unmet patient needs. The new EB House research portfolio will be periodically reviewed for continued relevance and implemented through targeted research projects measured against performance. As a result of this restructuring process, we expect that from 2024 onwards, there will only be research programs whose target is the translational development of a preclinical product candidate.
- All applications that fulfil the eligibility criteria will be scientifically reviewed by external peer reviewers and members of an Ad-hoc Expert Advisory Panel (EAP). Feedback will be provided to all applicants.
- At the EB Expert Advisory Panel Meeting (in September 2023) all program leaders will have the possibility to present their programs and discuss the provided feedback with the members of the Expert Advisory Panel. All discussed and agreed recommendations during the EB Expert Advisory Panel Meeting have to be integrated into the programs.
- Recommendations for funding made by EAP at a grant review meeting will then be considered by DEBRA Austria's Boards of Trustees.
- Subject to funding availability, allocation of funds will recognise an equal prioritisation of the research areas and DEBRA Austria’s primary goal for EB research while adhering to the core principle of funding the best research, identified by the Expert Advisory Panel as meeting the criteria of scientific quality, quality of the Program planning (according to the proposed timescale and resources), probability of clinical application and potential patient benefit.
- The final funding decision will be at the discretion DEBRA Austria. It is anticipated that funding decisions will be made in November and December 2023 (date TBC).
DEBRA Austria's primary goal for EB research
DEBRA Austria supports and funds research and development programs that lead to at least 3 new pre-clinical product candidates for EB therapy development by the year 2026. These product candidates shall be particularly directed to earlier phases of disease progression, including wound healing, chronic inflammation and fibrosis for all EB types. In addition, for all indications pursued, the total number of patients who could benefit from a successful therapy and the severity of the EB type should be considered in order to achieve maximum impact for EB patients with the employed resources.
Current research priorities
- Improving understanding of EB biology to create new concepts for diagnosis and treatment.
- Developing disease-modifying and curative therapies.
- Preventing and curing severe disease consequences: chronic wounds, fibrosis, and cancer.
- Improving clinical care and symptom relief through research.
The essential purpose of the EB House program grant is to fund programs leading to a potential EB therapy (a pre-clinical product candidate).
- Duration Program: 2 – 5 years; A program shall not be defined by time only but rather by the planned time required to achieve the Program Goal – which has to be a potential pre-clinical product candidate.
- Program Definition: A Program is broken down into smaller units – projects. Individual projects are divided into work packages, each leading to defined milestones.
- Program Leader: Program leaders are expected to spend 80 to 100% of their efforts and time on the respective Research Program and to be fully dedicated to such a Research Program. A Program leader is expected to represent and defend the Program internally and externally and effectively lead the Program team members to achieve the Program goals and objectives. Program lead salary and overheads/admin costs are eligible.
- Starting Date: All submitted Programs will officially start on Jan 1, 2024.
- Budget: A typical Research Program requests a total budget of EUR 1 to 2 million for the overall program phase.
- Currency: EUR (Euros)
- Co-Funding: We welcome proposals for co-funding with other organisations, including government, academia, industry, or other charities, in as much as the overarching Program goal is aligned with DEBRA Austria's research priorities.
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