The Horizon Europe project NABIHEAL, coordinated by the Center for Biomedical Research Network (CIBER), led by Prof. Nora Ventosa of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), was launched on 11-12 January 2023 in Barcelona with the first meeting of the international consortium, formed by 14 partners from 7 countries, including research centers, universities, and private companies. BioNanoNet Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (BNN) is among the 14 beneficiaries.
Members of the EU-funded project NABIHEAL during the kick-off meeting in Barcelona on 11 January 2023.
NABIHEAL stands for “Antimicrobial Nanostructured Biomaterials for Complex Wound Healing” and is funded under the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme with a total budget of nearly 5 million euros over four years. NABIHEAL aims at solving two unmet medical needs in complex wound healing: on the one hand, affordable treatments for wound infections and prevention of complications during wound healing, and on the other, a strategy to optimize the composition and efficacy of wound dressings.
The kickoff meeting, held at the CSIC Researcher’s Residence in Barcelona, was opened by the project coordinator, Prof. Nora Ventosa, from CIBER and ICMAB-CSIC, and by institutional and political representatives, including Riccardo Rurali, Vice-Director of ICMAB-CSIC; Ramon Martínez Mañez, Scientific Director of CIBER-BBN; Jordi Aguasca, Director of Technological Transformation and Disruption Unit, ACCIÓ; and Xavier Aldeguer, General Director of Society of Knowledge, Transfer & Territory of the Catalan Government. The meeting provided the opportunity to interact in person with all the consortium partners and establish the first collaborative activities to ensure timely delivery of the project milestones.
Complex wound healing as a global health problem
The NABIHEAL project will advance on the synthesis of advanced nanostructured biomaterials as an alternative to the commonly used silver-based materials. “The project will work to produce multifunctional materials for the treatment of complex wound healing, which has become a global health problem. For example, in developed countries, it affects the quality of life of more than 2% of the total population,” affirms Nora Ventosa, coordinator of the project.
Complex wounds, such as chronic wounds, are highly susceptible to microbial infection and biofilm formation, and thus difficult to treat. The most common antimicrobial products to treat these infections are based on silver. However, they have several economic, environmental and safety drawbacks. The biomaterials developed within the NABIHEAL project will offer a safer, more sustainable and more cost-effective alternative.
The project aims to obtain innovative multifunctional wound healing biomaterials using affordable EU-based manufacturing technologies. In the long term, NABIHEAL could become a game-changing alternative to silver in wound healing dressings.
An International Consortium
The goals of the project will be tackled by an interdisciplinary consortium from 7 countries, combining expertise in different areas, such as synthesis and characterization of biomaterials, biocompatibility and safety, regulatory aspects and ethics, or wound healing product development and scale-up. “We are excited to launch this project, in which 8 academic institutions and 6 private companies will join forces to face the challenging problem of complex wound treatment,” adds Prof. Ventosa.
The international consortium is formed by Prof. Ventosa and her group of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB), the University of Extremadura (UEx) and the University of Cantabria (UC). All three groups belong to the coordinating institution, the Center for Biomedical Research Network (CIBER). Together with them other five Spanish entities are also involved in the project: Nanomol Technologies S.L. (NT), Bioiberica S.A.U (BIO), Histocell S.L (HCELL), the University of Granada (UGR), and Asphalion (ASPH). From Germany, NABIHEAL partners include MyBiotech GmbH (MyB) and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (CH); from Croatia, the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health (IMI); from Denmark, the Aarhus University (AU); from Israel, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (IT); from Austria, BioNanoNet Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (BNN); and from Slovenia, the University of Maribor (UM).
Role of BNN in NABIHEAL
Within the project, BNN leads the task to elaborate NABIHEAL’s Safety-and-Sustainability-by-Design (SSbD) concept and guidelines for all (nano)materials and processes of the different technologies developed within the project. Furthermore, BNN serves as Work Package Lead for WP8: Dissemination, Communication & Stakeholder Involvement, which entails creation of the project branding, website, printed materials, and maintaining the social media accounts. In addition, BNN guides partners in disseminating and exploiting project results.
This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101092269.