Delft, July 11th, 2023
Bi/ond is proud to announce its participation in the groundbreaking project called “MAGIC” (Next-generation Models And Genetic therapIes for rare neuromusCular diseases). This ambitious four-year initiative, jointly funded with approximately 9.5 million EUR by Horizon Europe, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation of Switzerland (SERI), aims to revolutionize the treatment landscape for muscular dystrophies—a group of severe genetic disorders currently lacking effective therapies.
Muscular dystrophies (MDs) are characterised by muscle wasting, impaired mobility, and premature death, presenting significant challenges for patients and researchers alike. The lack of robust human(ised) models for development of advanced therapies has been a major barrier to clinical translation in the field of genetic therapies for muscle diseases. The MAGIC consortium is determined to overcoming this challenge by developing advanced models of human skeletal muscle pathophysiology and innovative gene therapy vectors.
Led by Prof. Francesco Saverio Tedesco (scientific coordinator; University College London and The Francis Crick Institute) with the support of Dr Mario Amendola (Inserm, coordinating institution), the MAGIC consortium brings together 15 partners from 9 countries, including 8 from academia/research hospitals, 4 SMEs among which, Bi/ond, and 3 charities/NGOs. (*)
By combining expertise in muscle stem cells, regeneration and disease modeling, microfabrication, and microfluidic technologies, the consortium aims to generate advanced multicellular models of neuromuscular diseases using “muscle-on-chip” devices. These devices will be utilized to test genetic therapies and genome editing strategies.
Bi/ond will empower the consortium partners by providing the technological platform and its biological expertise in the field of muscle-on-chip models. Bi/ond will support the development of multilineage 3D muscle models using human primary and iPSC-derived cells, enabling the creation of robust in vitro models of human muscle and neuromuscular disorders.
“We aim at revolutionizing muscular dystrophy treatment through the MAGIC Project, harnessing the power of Bi/ond’s cutting-edge technology. By uniting with esteemed researchers and partners worldwide, we will do our best to bring hope and transformation to the lives of patients who can’t wait any longer” – Cinzia Silvestri, CEO of Bi/Ond solutions.
Professor Francesco Saverio Tedesco is optimistic about the impact of MAGIC: “This project represents a significant step forward in the search for effective treatments for muscular dystrophies. Through cutting-edge bioengineering, innovative genetic therapies, and advanced preclinical translation, we aim to make a difference in the lives of people affected by these devastating diseases.”.” Professor of Neuromuscular Biology and Regenerative Medicine, University College London, Senior Group Leader, The Francis Crick Institute.
*: BI/OND Solutions (Netherlands), Inserm (France), Hannover University Medical School (Germany), Université Paris XII Val de Marne (France), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (USA), The Francis Crick Institute (UK), King’s College London (UK), National University of Ireland Maynooth (Ireland), Muscular Dystrophy UK (UK), Parent Project APS (Italy), Duchenne Data Foundation (Netherlands), VIVE Biotech (Spain), ReiThera (Italy), Dinaqor Dynamics (Switzerland) and University College London (UK).
Bi/ond specializes in empowering biological innovations through microfabrication techniques and integrated electronics components. We engineer microfluidic chips that create reproducible biological models, reducing the need for animal testing. Our unique platform includes electrophysiology functionality, enabling stimulation and monitoring of muscle contractions. This technology is crucial for patients with rare genetic diseases, as it facilitates the development of tailored treatments. By studying organs on our platform, researchers gain insights into disease mechanisms and test the effects of drugs on human-derived tissues. Choose Bi/ond for advanced technology and dedicated engineering support.
About the MAGIC project:
The MAGIC (Next-generation Models and Genetic therapies for rare neuromuscular diseases) consortium brings together leading international institutions, biotech companies and patient advocacy groups to accelerate the development of gene therapies for muscular dystrophies. By creating advanced human quasi vivo models, developing tissue-specific vectors, and exploring gene editing strategies, the consortium aims to overcome the barriers that have hindered the translation of genetic therapies into clinical applications. Through collaboration, innovation, and a patient-centred approach, the MAGIC consortium is committed to making a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals affected by muscular dystrophies.
This work is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee grant numbers 10080927, 10079726, 10082354 and 10078461.
Project Original Press release