• QVQ actively participates in the next European Training Network on oncogenic GPCRs: ONCORNET 2.0.

The European Union has granted 4 M euro to Martine Smit and Jacqueline van Muijlwijk (Medicinal Chemistry, AIMMS, Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and colleagues from academia and SMEs from the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, UK and Switzerland to train young scientist to become experts in oncogenic GPCR research.

ONCORNET2.0 builds on the success of ONCORNET (Oncogenic GPCR Network of Excellence and Training), a first-in-kind ITN in GPCR drug discovery that has successfully delivered scientific advance and training to talented early stage researchers (ESRs) (www.oncornet.eu). ONCORNET2.0 will incorporate recent scientific and technological breakthroughs to understand and target two oncogenic G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs); the chemokine receptors CXCR4 and ACKR3 (CXCR7). These are highly expressed in multiple tumours but their role in cancer progression remains poorly understood. We will develop new strategies for CXCR4/ACKR3 modulation and investigate their effects on oncogenic responses, to yield key new knowledge and potential leads for drug development.

ONCORNET2.0 will bring together the leading GPCR research groups in Europe and will educate the next generation of young researchers (15 PhD students) by a multi-disciplinary training. This programme integrates both research (e.g. drug discovery, proteomics, imaging) and transferable (e.g. entrepreneurship, academic writing, media training) skill sets through blended learning. This will ensure that the ESRs can effectively operate in today’s drug discovery programs and will increase European competitiveness in the field of drug discovery.

Figure: ONCORNET2.0 (ONCOgenic GPCR Network of Excellence and Training) consortium

QVQ Holding BV strives for early detection of diseases and better understanding of disease mechanisms, focusing on cancer, infections and age-related diseases. QVQ has extensive experience in the fields of generation, production, purification and conjugation of small camelid-derived single domain antibodies (VHH or nanobodies). VHH have proven to be very suitable for targeting GPCRs like CXCR4 and ACKR3.

As a beneficiary partner in ONCORNET2.0, QVQ has the opportunity to collaborate closely with leading GPCR research groups and industrial partners in Europe. ONCORNET2.0 will allow QVQ to expand its portfolio of VHH lead molecules that specifically target CXCR4 and ACKR3 (CXCR7) for detection and therapeutic modulation of their oncogenic activities. Together with prof. Martine Smit (VU University in Amsterdam), QVQ will train one PhD student (ESR, early stage researcher) and host secondments of ESRs from academic partners.

Beneficiary partners within ONCORNET2.0:

Academic groups:

Martine Smit, Jacqueline van Muijlwijk, Rob Leurs, Iwan de Esch (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL),

Steve Hill, Meritxell Canals, Steve Briddon (University of Nottingham, UK),

Philippe Marin, Thierry Durroux, Sébastien Granier, Jean Philippe Pin (CNRS, FR),

Martin Lohse (Max-Delbruck-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, DE),

Carsten Hoffmann (Universitätsklinikum Jena, DE),

Françoise Bachelerie, Géraldine Schlecht-Louf (INSERM, FR),

Federico Mayor, Petronila Penela (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, ES),

Graeme Milligan, Gerry Graham (University of Glasgow, UK)

SMEs:

QVQ Holding BV (Raimond Heukers, NL)

InterAx (Maria Waldhoer, CH).

Partner organizations within ONCORNET2.0:

Cisbio (Eric Trinquet, FR),

Sosei Heptares (Chris de Graaf, UK),

ALMAC (Alastair Hay, UK),

Promega (Rachel Ohana, Keith Wood, US)

Learning By Simulation (LBS) (Leon Delbressine, NL).

Contact:

For QVQ:                                            Raimond Heukers (r.heukers@qvquality.com)

For Medical Chemistry (VU):           Martine Smit (mj.smit@vu.nl)