Children and young people represent 20 % of the European population. When we refer to this group of people as patients, it is essential to consider that they are different from the adult patients. Their metabolism is different, because they are in continuous development and also they can suffer diseases that sometimes might be limited to the paediatric setting.
Taking into consideration these specificities, the need of treatments addressed only for children is a public priority. Nowadays around 50% of the medicines that are prescribed to paediatric patients have not been tested specially for them. For this reason, it is essential to promote and increase paediatric research.
The translation between bench to the bedside requires the involvement of different expert research groups in drug early discovery, biomarkers, formulation, pharmacology, etc. that already collaborate in Europe within the already existing research infrastructures. But the problem is that they are not specifically dedicated to research on children. The time needed for the development of new medicines is also an important concern. It is long, from the basic research (before the study of a potential treatment with humans) to the clinical research (when we study this potential treatment with patients). It can also take among 7-10 years from the screening of new molecules to the market of a new drug and the average of success rate is really low (1 over 10.000 molecules studied). For this reason, it is essential to join efforts and work in a collaborative way between the European experts groups that at this moment are working to develop paediatric medicines.
ID-EPTRI is a project funded by the European Commission that has as main objective to design the framework for the European Paediatric Translational Research Infrastructure (EPTRI). A research infrastructure is a set of facilities, resources and related services at disposal of the scientific community to conduct top-level research. EPTRI will be a new research infrastructure that will integrate the paediatric expertise of five different areas of pre-clinical research: early discovery and preclinical studies, biomarkers, pharmacology, formulation and underpinning paediatric studies. The main objective of ID-EPTRI is to facilitate the paediatric pre-clinical research while reducing the time of its translation to the clinical phase.
The project involves 26 partners from EU and non-EU countries including already existing research infrastructures, top-level universities, scientific and clinical centers of excellence in Europe. It is coordinated by Consorzio per Valutazioni Biologiche e Farmacologiche (CVBF), a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2000 with the mission to perform research and provide scientific, economic and regulatory consultancy for innovation in the health sector at European level.