Private-Public Partnerships, PPP

Backed by the Wallonia, the private-public partnerships (PPPs) involve a 2-year privileged partnership between university research teams and industrial partners with the aim of promoting the development and exploitation of scientific innovations. Four PPPs are currently underway at ULB:

EMULVAC et SAPOVAC

These two projects are focused on studying and understanding how vaccine adjuvants function. While EMULVAC concentrates on the emulsion-based adjuvants used in seasonal influenza vaccines, SAPOVAC is focused on saponins, used especially in the candidate vaccine against malaria. Though these two types of adjuvants are already being used by GSK-Biologicals, the company sponsoring the two programmes, the way they actually work remains unclear. The researchers will therefore be trying to understand which molecular pathways are activated by these adjuvants, thus having a stimulating effect on the innate immunity of cells. Gaining such an understanding could for example help us improve current vaccination strategies in terms of effectiveness and reactogenicity.

Team leader: Stanislas Goriely, IMI, Faculty of Medecine

TREGCD70

The TREGCD70 project is the continuation of CIBLES, the programme of excellence completed in December 2012. In the course of this programme, researchers discovered that certain regulatory T lymphocytes were able to control the inflammatory immune response by decreasing the expression of the CD70 molecule on the surface of dendritic cells, the sentinels of our immune system. This reduction goes hand in hand with a transfer of the corresponding CD27 receptor to the surface to the same cells. The aim of this PPP, sponsored by GSK-Biologicals, the company which already sponsored the CIBLES programmes, will be to understand this process and to find ways of leveraging it to control immune responses, in particular in the field of autoimmune diabetes

Team leader: Muriel Moser, IBMM, Faculty of Science

OSCIRC

The project focuses on circulating osteoblasts, bone precursors found in the blood. When a bone is fractured, they have the ability to recognise the fracture, find their way to it and help set the bone. The aim of this PPP is to understand what makes these osteoblasts enter the blood and what guides them to the fracture. The baseline objective here is to try and develop cell therapies which can be administered intravenously to remedy such bone diseases as osteoporosis, osteonecrosis or pseudarthrosis - an interesting project with market potential for Bone Therapeutics, a company already involved in the development of cell therapy products for treating such diseases.

Team leader: Valérie Gangji, Department of Rheumatology and Physical Medicine, Faculty of Medecine