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LifeArc and DEBRA Austria launch £2.5m funding call for repurposing therapies for Epidermolysis Bullosa

Joint Funding Call for EB 2023

LifeArc, the self-funded, non-profit medical research charity, and EB Resnet member DEBRA Austria, a patient organisation charity, are partnering to commit £2.5 million to fund projects to repurpose therapies that can be brought rapidly to patients suffering with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

  • New call for projects for treatments that could be re-purposed to treat Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a life-changing and as yet incurable rare skin disease.
  • Priority focus on treatments for chronic inflammation and non-healing wounds, and resulting fibrosis and skin cancer.
  • Joint initiative is part of LifeArc’s Rare Disease Translational Challenge – investing more than £100 million  to help address some of the major obstacles facing rare disease translational science.

Applications are invited from research groups at academic/non-profit research institutions, or hospitals, worldwide. There will be a priority focus on CIF (chronic inflammation & fibrosis) and cancer initiation. Projects should involve therapies that can be repurposed or repositioned, and based on a strong non-clinical data package with a clear path to clinical development.  

EB is a group of rare inherited disorders where the integrity of the skin and internal mucous membranes is severely disrupted, leading to chronic tissue damage, a persistent inflammatory response, and fibrosis. Progressive systemic disease can result in multi-organ complications with life-limiting consequences and reduced quality of life, and aggressive squamous cell carcinoma may initiate in chronically inflamed, non-healing wounds.

The call seeks innovative proposals to progress therapies where there is good evidence that they can be repurposed or repositioned to deliver increased resolution of non-healing wounds, prevention and/or reduction of chronic inflammation, inhibition and/or reduction of fibrosis, or decreased risk of squamous cell carcinoma initiation in patients with EB. Projects should seek to develop therapies that have been developed and tested for other diseases but have strong arguments for them having potential to deliver benefit in EB. The projects should take advantage of data that is already available on how the drug works, that shows how safe the drug is and at what dose it would need to be given at. This should provide the basis for these drugs to progress rapidly to testing in people with EB.  

The funding round will be organized in a two-stage application process. The Expression of interest (EOI) stage opens on 10 July 2023 and closes on 10 September 2023. Shortlisted EOI applicants will be invited to submit full applications between 4 October and 4 December 2023. Successful applicants will be notified March 2024 with projects expected to begin in Q2 2024. For more information about the call, applicant eligibility, research scope and exclusions, applicant process and guidance, click here.

Complete press release about the joint call.

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