New strategic VIB – BioPontis Alliance for Rare Diseases

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The VIB has announced its first research project in collaboration with the Biopontis Alliance for Rare Diseases. The study is aimed at developing a treatment for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and is part of a larger strategic partnership between the two institutes.

During the long-time collaboration, the institutes will focus on rare diseases. Although the cause of 4000 of the 7000 to 8000 rare diseases is known, few therapies are being developed and the field is in dire need of funding. Because of this, less than 5% of the patients suffering from a rare disease are being treated for their disorder.

One such rare disease is Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, a hereditary and highly debilitating neuropathy. The disease is caused by a genetic defect in the genes coding for different neuronal proteins, depending on the type of CMT disease. The result is consistently loss of muscle tissue, skeletal deformations and pain in the limbs.

The VIB-BioPontis partnership will combine excellent basic and translational research of VIB with BioPontis’ expertise in the development of therapies for rare diseases. The two institutes will also define new focus areas where progress can be made and where therapies can be developed efficiently.