A new network, In4Kids, was launched today to facilitate the development of new drugs for children in Ireland and across Europe. Up to now, paediatric patients generally receive ‘smaller doses’ of adult medicines or dilution of therapies as they have not been specifically developed and trialed on children. Approximately 60% of medicines and therapies used to treat children have not been studied in children, and over 90% have not been studied in infants.
The In4Kids network will support clinical research for children in Ireland and the development of new treatments, and will be led by the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT) at University College Cork. INFANT has been awarded €800,000 in the first phase of the programme, and this funding is expected to multiply during the programme term. In4Kids will be the Irish hub of the pan-European multidisciplinary network CONECT4CHILDREN (C4C), comprising academia, medical institutions, industry and affiliated partners. The consortium has been awarded €140 million by the Innovative Medicines Initative (IMI2) to improve clinical trial infrastructure for children and infants. Partnership in the C4C network will provide In4Kids members with a gateway to access future funding from the network for Irish research.
Speaking at the launch of In4Kids, INFANT Director and In4Kids Lead, Prof Geraldine Boylan said, “Children must have access to innovative therapies and medicines that have been developed with the same rigour and urgency as those developed for adults. The c4c network with its Irish partner, In4Kids, will accelerate the availability of high quality scientific data that will improve the safe and effective use of medicines in children.”
With a budget of €140 Million, c4c is one of the biggest awards funded through the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2, funded jointly by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovative programme as well as the European Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). As a recognized international iresearch centre of excellence, the SFI funded INFANT centre will be the lead Irish partner in this initiative and will work closely with the national hub led by Clinical Research Development Ireland.
Welcoming the launch of In4Kids, Dr Fionnuala Keane, Head of Clinical Research at CRDI (Clinical Research Development Ireland) said, “The further development of the clinical research infrastructure and research activities for children and infants in Ireland under In4Kids will result in better outcomes for Irish children. We welcome Ireland’s participation in the C4C programme and look forward to making a significant contribution through the In4kids national network which we are pleased to coordinate and support.”
One of the key goals of this project is to support the use of innovative trial designs and new quantitive methods to foster the development of paediatric medicines and to support development in rare paediatric diseases and high medical need areas. Through this co-ordinated collaboration across Europe that c4c provides, clinical trials will benefit from consistency across implementation, aligned quality standards, co-ordinated engagement with specialist and national networks as well as rigourous strategic and operationally effective trials specifically for children and infants.