The Malta Independent 16 October 2019, Wednesday

KENUP Partnership for Innovation to commence operations in Malta

Friday, 12 December 2014, 18:39 Last update: about 6 years ago

The KENUP consortium aims at facilitating global leadership for those European industries benefiting most from demographic change whilst improving the quality of life of a sizable percentage of citizens in our ageing society.

During the past 18 months, a comprehensive program has been conceived and agreed upon by 64 innovation leaders from Europe and further afield.

Malta announces today that it will host KENUP and facilitate its endeavours in this field by providing seed financing to the initiative.The partnership includes the governments of Malta and Croatia, the World Health Organisation, Israel's bold National Innovation Program in Personalized Medicine, aspirational programmes from Jordan and Palestine, some of the world's best universities and research institutions - including Harvard University, MIT Media Lab, the Weizmann Institute and the University of Zurich - and powerful civil society organisers as well as 22 innovative corporations, including Novartis Vaccines and Sanofi-Pasteur, amongst others.

KENUP is coordinated by Germany's Leuphana University.In its portfolio, KENUP will initially limit its focus on Life Sciences applications in the field of Immunisation for Adults and Personalised Medicine. KENUP will aim at supporting initiatives that find themselves in the 'valley of death' phase. This comes after classical research funding is exhausted but before the availability of commercial investment vehicles.

In Life Sciences, such a European initiative is particularly relevant. Earlier this week, the National Center for Disease Control announced that this year's Flu vaccine will, once again, not be fully effective - potentially leading to thousands of avoidable deaths especially in older people. This is because new technology developed by European researchers has not yet made it to the market. In this particular field, for example, KENUP has a Universal Flu Vaccine in its portfolio, which is already advanced in clinical trials, and is expected to work against a very wide range of influenza viruses.

KENUP Industry Group Leader Rino Rappuoli, Novartis Vaccines' Global Head of Research, says: "Vaccines are the most effective medical intervention ever introduced, saving more than 2.5 million deaths every single year. During the last years, substantial advancements in fundamental science and technology have opened an even brighter future".

Ruth Arnon, President of The Israel Academy of Science and Humanities and Weizmann Institute's Paul Ehrlich Professor of Immunology adds: "Many of these scientific innovations still have to find their way into medications. This is especially true for vaccinations against cancer, Alzheimer's, but also for preventing many of the still prevalent infectious diseases.

KENUP will also provide higher education for the next generation of European innovators and entrepreneurs using the full potential of the digital age. KENUP's approach to Digital Education is designed to attract and nurture talent without imposing barriers. Removing barriers to investment requires transparent, bold, coordinated, interdisciplinary as well as transdisciplinary approaches that unify governments, regulators, researchers, educators, and civil society with businesses and global investment communities. KENUP's 'Made in Europe Platform' aims at bringing together scientific and societal knowledge and at boosting the investment climate by updating legacy regulation through transparent, participatory processes. This Platform is Co-Chaired by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Germany's Gesine Schwan.

Maltese PM Joseph Muscat says: "It is an honour that such a distinguished partnership is establishing itself in our country. Thanks to the efforts of the Malta Council for Science and Technology, which was spearheading Malta's input in relation to the work which went behind the setting up of the Consortium, the potential benefits for our country will go beyond the immediate implications of the consortium's efforts. The partnership with more than 60 innovation leaders in the field is expected to create and leverage opportunities in the target areas that have been well aligned with our smart specialisation strategy. We are proud that a potentially profitable 'Public Equity Investor' has been conceived to address the lacuna which exists in the sector: that of fostering innovative economic activity in a sustainable way which could have an impact at a European level."

Maltese Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Chris Fearne, states: "Our Health Sector provides unique opportunities for Malta, and beyond, to establish state of the art practices which will be beneficial for Europe's ageing population through provision of innovative solutions to demographic change".

Leuphana University EVP Holm Keller adds: "The power to innovate is in the hands of small and agile organizations. This is as true for Nation States and Universities, as it is for Start-Up companies. We are grateful to the Republic of Malta for inviting KENUP to proceed with its aspirational European agenda from here."The partnership had applied to be considered as a "Knowledge & Innovation Community (KIC)" with the European Union's European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). The consortium found itself eliminated prior to the lawful selection process, under conditions that are expected to undergo judicial review at European level. Even though, due to this refusal, the partners cannot implement KENUP on the scale originally envisaged, they will endeavour to carry out projects with the support of the Republic of Malta, as well as from private and other public investors.


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