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French Parasitology Alliance For Health Care

Parasitic infections remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The vast majority of infections in humans and domestic animals can be attributed to protozoan pathogens responsible for malaria, African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness, nagana, etc), leishmaniasis and toxoplasmosis. In addition, parasitic infections kill millions of livestock, which strongly affect rural development and poverty alleviation in developing countries (as an example, estimation of economic losses caused by African trypanosomoses is US$ 4.75 billion per year). ParaFrap in a joint effort with industrial partners aims to improve the health situation disease endemic countries.

To favor the transfer to the economic world, ParaFrap will reinforce its ongoing connections with industrial partners, including Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis, Virbac, CEVA Santé Animale, and a number of Small & Medium Enterprise. A number of projects are already supported by patents and we anticipate that most of the new collaborative projects stimulated by ParaFrap will generate innovation and numerous new patents that will be developed in close collaboration with industrial partners linked to ParaFrap for commercial exploitation. An industry representative will be involved in the governance (Executive Committee) to facilitate and stimulate collaborative research between industrial and academic partners.

The ParaFrap website is created with a public section to create awareness for the consortium activities including updates and announcements of major break through results of the consortium in basic research and new intervention strategies. In addition, an informative section will be created with facts about major parasitic diseases and their treatment. This will include the creation of a database of experts in parasitology (including contact address). The web site also will be an excellent communication tool between consortium members (announcement of workshops, PhD program etc.). A major impact on the creation of new jobs will be an important secondary effect of this LabEx. ParaFrap will create highly competitive PhD program with 20 well-trained students and 20 post docs. At the end of their training, we will promote their integration in industry research programs (through existing partnership with private company or through the Sup’Biotech Engineer School connections) or alternatively assist them in finding excellent postdoc positions in leading international institutions. ParaFrap participants have excellent international connections through the organization of international conferences and workshops. We will help excellent post docs and young group leaders to integrate into one of the French Institutions (staff position). Taken together, ParaFrap will promote a highly competitive industry research on parasitology that should feed back on creating a number of new jobs. This environment will be very favorable for innovative research and the creation of new start up companies. A good example is Man Ros Therapeutics that has been recently created by a CNRS scientist.