03.01.2018 change 03.01.2018

Polish heart disease and cancer drugs research program established

Prime Minister, Minister of Development and Finance Mateusz Morawiecki (R) and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science Jarosław Gowin (L) during a joint press conference at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka 27.12.2017 Prime Minister, Minister of Development and Finance Mateusz Morawiecki (R) and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science Jarosław Gowin (L) during a joint press conference at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister in Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka 27.12.2017

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin announced the establishment of Polish heart disease and cancer drugs research program. PLN 0.5 billion will be allocated this year for this purpose. The Institute of Medical Biotechnology will also be established.

"Health is a priority for us, but also a development opportunity. Prime Minister Gowin and I want to confirm that today" - said Morawiecki during a joint conference in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.

He added that the planned Institute of Medical Biotechnology has the "chance to be a very modern organization that will push the level of our medicine in the field of biotechnology to completely new, previously unknown areas".

Morawiecki explained that in Poland we buy 70% foreign medicines. Meanwhile - he pointed out - in Germany and France more than 90 percent purchased medicines are French or German.

"Of course, this first period of Polish transformation has led to such changes in our drug and healthcare reimbursement system, that we are heavily dependent on these foreign centres. We want to reduce this dependence, we want drugs to be cheaper and to become increasingly Polish-made" - said the Prime Minister.

"Through our activities of the entrepreneurial state, we want to join entrepreneurial science within the framework of the new Institute" - he emphasised.

Prime Minister added that the newly established institution is also intended to attract scientists from around the world and allow "our outstanding scientists, engineers, IT specialists, geneticists, biogenetics to stay in Poland and together with doctors develop innovative medical technologies that would translate to health".

He also emphasised that healthcare would become more modern, it would be the "flywheel of the economy", thanks to which - as he noted - "we will be producing modern medicines that will be the best way to treat our dear citizens".

"This is a milestone on the way to building a modern Polish medical industry and improving the functioning of Polish healthcare" - he added.

Gowin thanked the Prime Minister in his speech for the fact that thanks to his efforts "this year\'s budget has included PLN 0.5 billion for biotechnology research".

"The operator of these PLN 500 million will ultimately be the European Institute of Technology (...) in Wrocław, it will provide administrative services, so no additional posts will be needed here, while funds for research will be allocated in competitions to already existing research teams, operating at the Polish Academy of Sciences, or at Polish universities" - said Deputy Prime Minister.

He noted that the establishment of the program is "an information that will please primarily Polish patients because thanks these funds will be used to develop Polish medicines against two most important diseases: heart disease and cancer". "But this is also a great news for Polish scientists" - added Gowin.

"This investment in research on modern medicines is also of economic importance, because this money will be invested in Polish companies and, importantly, these studies will be commercialised (...) and funds obtained from commercialisation will return to institutes , they will return to research teams and finance further research" - said Deputy Prime Minister.

Gowin emphasized that the program operator will be selected by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego. "We are hoping that this operator will be EIT Plus in Wrocław. It will also be a chance to sustain this huge investment in the scientific infrastructure, unique not only in Poland, but also on the European scale" - he emphasised.

According to Gowin, EIT Plus is carrying out a competition in which research teams will be selected. "These teams can count on long-term financing. We assume that the programs will be five years long, with the possibility of extension for five more years or even longer periods, provided that the research carried out by the team is successful" - he said.

Gowin announced that the teams will be selected in a competition. "The best foreign experts will evaluate proposals in this competition to ensure fairness" - he added.

After the conference, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister met with the scientific community in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.

authors: Paweł Dembowski, Daria Porycka, Rafał Białkowski, Marceli Sommer (PAP)

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