Innovation and collaboration to meet the medical challenges of the 21st century

Multinational biopharmaceutical company Celgene, world leader in developing new treatments for cancer and inflammatory diseases, has now established the Celgene Institute for Translational Research Europe (CITRE) in Seville, Spain. CITRE is the company’s first dedicated R&D site outside the USA and provides a bridge between Celgene R&D and the European research community.

CITRE was founded in 2010, and laboratory research activities began in June 2011. Approximately 5 million US dollars have been invested in equipment and scientific development over the first two years, excluding start-up costs, and the Institute now houses a team of 25 highly qualified scientific research and administrative staff drawn from Spain and other European member states.

The Institute is located in the Cartuja ‘93 Science and Technology Park and its activities focus on Translational Research into new treatments for cancer and other rare and complex diseases, to ensure that laboratory advances in personalized medicine reach the patients who need them as soon as possible.

Scientific activities at CITRE comprise three main departments: The Human Diseased Tissue Laboratory (HDTL), the Computational Biology research group, and the Clinical Trials Unit. Onsite facilities include extensive cell culture, flow cytometry, microscopy, genomics, immunohistochemistry, and state-of-the-art computational analysis infrastructure for biomarker discovery and patient stratification.

The three groups are inter-linked by the CITRE tissue Biobank, which has recently passed formal accreditation (Spanish Biomedical Research Law 14/2007 of 3rd July 2012 and RD 1716/2011) to become a component of the Spanish National Biobank Network.

The Biobank is being populated with a range of patient tissue samples, obtained from multi-centre Celgene trials managed by the CITRE Clinical Trials Unit in Spain and across Europe, to provide the basis for inter-disciplinary research into biomarker detection, patient selection criteria, and compound mechanisms of action.

Together, these components form a Translational Research centre which coordinates and conducts Celgene medical research in Europe, and enables rapid and effective transfer of new developments and discoveries at Celgene to EU patients. Furthermore, CITRE provides a focal point in Europe for collaborative translational research into cancer and inflammatory diseases, with a mission to rapidly deliver new Celgene compounds to the clinic.

CITRE activities are incorporated as Celgene Research SLU, a Spanish company funded by private US capital. Many current activities are jointly financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, the Andalusian Regional Ministry for Economy, Innovation and Science through the Andalusian Development and Innovation Agency, the State Company for Promoting and Attracting Foreign Investment (INVEST IN SPAIN), and by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). CITRE also participates as an industry partner in EU Seventh Framework proteomics consortium PrimeXS, and will provide an industrial training environment in forthcoming Marie Curie Initial Training Network project EpiHealthNet.

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