The Opening Ceremony of “National BİOSİM and GRIPA” Projects was Held in TÜSSİDE

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The opening ceremony of the "National Biosimilar Cancer Drug Development and Production - BİOSİM" and "National Pandemic Flu Vaccine - GRIPA" projects of TÜBİTAK MAM Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute, initiated within TÜBİTAK and its project partners, was held on 02 October 2015 at TÜBİTAK TÜSSİDE.

With the start of the National BİOSİM and GRIPA Projects, our country's dependence on foreign biotechnological products in the field of health will decrease, and a big step will be taken in line with the policies of bringing the necessary technological knowledge and experience for domestic production to our country.

The opening ceremony was attended by Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Fikri IŞIK, Minister of Health Mehmet MÜEZZİNOĞLU, Governor of Kocaeli Hasan Basri GÜZELOĞLU, TÜBİTAK Deputy Chairman Prof. Dr. Erol ARCAKLIOĞLU, TÜBİTAK MAM President Assoc. Dr. Bahadır TUNABOYLU, TÜBİTAK BİLGEM President Assoc. Dr. Hacı Ali MANTAR, TÜBİTAK TÜSSİDE Director Tezer BATTAL, Gebze District Governor Mehmet ARSLAN, Darıca District Governor Ömer KARAMAN, AKP Kocaeli Provincial Chairman Şemsettin CEYHAN, Gebze Mayor Adnan KÖŞKER and other protocol guests, as well as Hasan ULUSOY, Chairman of the Board of Directors of NOBEL Pharmaceutical Company, one of the project partners, SENTEGEN Company Founder Burak YILMAZ, Turkish Public Health Institution, MEDIPOL University, ISTANBUL University officials and many guests attended.

In the opening speech of the program, which started with the project promotional film, TÜBİTAK MAM President Assoc. Dr. Bahadır TUNABOYLU stated, "Thanks to these technologies that will be implemented nationally with the start of BİOSİM and GRIPA projects, our country's dependence on foreign biotechnological products in the field of health will decrease."

Minister IŞIK said, “A big step will be taken in line with the policies of bringing the necessary technological knowledge and experience for domestic production to our country and Turkey will switch to production in healthcare. We know how important it is to nationalize the pharmaceutical industry. We have hospitals and doctors around the world. Türkiye is a center of attraction in the field of health. We must produce with our own national means. "I would like to thank those who contributed to the creation of the project," he said.

Minister MÜEZZİNOĞLU stated that he was proud to be at the opening of such important projects and said, “Two national projects are coming into service. It is of great importance for our country. We are a nation that has achieved important historical achievements in the field of science. We will achieve the desired goals in 2018 and 2023. The world of science is very important. "The state stands behind the spirit of science and entrepreneurship," he said.

After the opening ceremony, which attracted great attention, TÜBİTAK MAM Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute laboratory visits were made.

“National Biosimilar Cancer Drug Development and Production Project – BİOSİM”

Every year, 8 million people worldwide die from cancer. Intensive studies are being carried out to combat cancer and new cancer drugs are being introduced to the market. However, it takes many years to develop a new cancer drug. Cancer drugs on the market are both expensive and take time to obtain, due to their high cost and import from abroad.

The global market size of antibody-based biotechnological drugs reaches 40 billion US dollars. Türkiye spent 1.64 billion Turkish Liras on biotechnological cancer drugs in 2014 alone. Our country has made a new breakthrough in the field of biotechnological drugs in order to reduce foreign dependence on cancer drugs and to establish domestic production.

The BİOSİM project was designed to develop and produce biosimilar anti-cancer drugs to be used in cancer treatment at world standards, using domestic resources in line with TÜBİTAK's goals, in partnership with public R&D and the local pharmaceutical industry. In this context, the necessary infrastructure for biotechnological drug production technology will be prepared, and firstly, biosimilar antibodies will be developed and produced in living cells on a small scale. After the properties of the produced drug are checked and approved in our laboratories in accordance with international standards, it will be produced in large quantities within Nobel Pharmaceuticals and will be used in animals and clinical studies.

With the completion of the BİOSİM project with a budget of 21 million Turkish Liras, supported by TÜBİTAK, significant contributions will be made to the country's economy and scientific knowledge, as well as the biotechnological pharmaceutical infrastructure with high standards that can compete in the international arena will be provided to our country.

With the BİOSİM project and the infrastructure to be established within this scope, TÜBİTAK MAM Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute is aimed to have a say in the development of biotechnological cancer drugs in Turkey, as a pioneer in the creation of new projects for the development of new biosimilar molecules and biotechnological original drugs.

“National Pandemic Flu Vaccine – GRIPA”

The most effective way to protect against global flu epidemics (pandemics), which can have devastating effects on public health and economy, is vaccination. The vaccine is a strategic product in that it provides protection before flu symptoms begin and prevents the spread of flu. Our country is completely dependent on abroad for the supply of flu vaccines and is under serious threat in the event of a pandemic. Turkey's ability to produce its own pandemic flu vaccine is not only critical for public health but also very important in terms of socioeconomic impacts. In case of a pandemic, the flu virus required for the vaccine must be quickly obtained, propagated, and modified, if necessary, for an effective vaccine. Additionally, since pandemics are a global threat, enough vaccines need to be produced for a very large population. The latest flu pandemic has revealed the need to reconsider existing vaccine technologies in terms of vaccine production quantity and speed.

Today, the budget allocated to prepare for potential pandemic flu outbreaks has reached 10 billion US dollars worldwide. As recommended by the World Health Organization, each country should be able to produce its own vaccine in order to ensure national security and prevent socioeconomic losses in the event of a pandemic.

With the National GRIPA project, an advanced technology that will enable the production of fast, safe, highly efficient and effective vaccines during the pandemic will be brought to Turkey. At the end of the project, it was aimed to create and produce the synthetic virus required for the vaccine as soon as possible, in the initial stages of the pandemic, and to develop the process that will create the vaccine. With this technology to be developed nationally, Turkey will take its place among the world countries producing pandemic vaccines.

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