« Project has 39 partners, including three regulatory bodies.
“EU-ToxRisk, a € 30 m project to develop more efficient, animal-free chemical safety assessment, has revealed the 39 organisations that will be involved.
All EU-ToxRisk activities will have risk assessment in mind, said project coordinator Bob van de Water of Leiden University. To this end, three regulatory bodies are partners: the Danish Environmental Protection Agency; the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; and the Italian Istituto Superiore di Sanità.
EU-ToxRisk is the next major EU project to drive mechanism-based toxicity testing and risk assessment. It will follow on from Seurat-1, which ends this year.
Many Seurat-1 partners are also involved in EU-ToxRisk. However, unlike Seurat-1, which comprised a set of research clusters, EU-ToxRisk will be one project. It will have a steering team of representatives from industry, regulatory bodies and academe.
Like Seurat-1, EU-ToxRisk will focus on repeated-dose systemic toxicity. But it will also work on mechanism-based tests for developmental and reproductive toxicity. The plan is to build on existing test models, incorporating “more toxicokinetic analysis”.
Case studies are “really central” to the new project, said professor van de Water, and will be used to test whether strategies can be used for human risk assessment.
For these, chemicals will be grouped into four main categories:
• chemicals with similar modes of action but different structures;
• structurally similar chemicals with a similar mode of action;
• structurally similar chemicals lacking mode-of-action information; and
• chemicals about which nothing is known.
The case studies will be used to aid “rapid improvement” of read-across approaches. “We are aiming not only for chemical read-across but also for biological read-across [based on biological activity],” said professor van de Water.
An official website, launched this week, reveals the project partners. These include eight SMEs and seven large companies, including BASF, Unilever, Hoffmann La Roche and L’Oréal France. Cosmetics Europe, which co-funded Seurat-1, is also a partner.
From academe, the consortium includes “many of Europe’s leading toxicologists and experts” in cell and developmental biology, genomics, and related fields, states an announcement on the project website. Research institute partners include the Centre for Alternatives to Animal Testing in Europe (CAAT-Europe), the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Karolinska Institute.
The European Union Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL-Ecvam) is not a partner but will have “strong ties” to EU-ToxRisk.
“We have already met with the coordinator to discuss opportunities for cooperation and we are looking forward to close interactions in a number of areas,” said Maurice Whelan, head of EURL-Ecvam.
“We hope to play a key translational role, informing the scientific research in terms of regulatory and policy needs on one hand, and facilitating the development and optimisation of novel animal-free testing and assessment methods that are fit for regulatory application.
“Discussions are ongoing but we hope to formalise our cooperation under a suitable agreement to be drawn up in the months ahead.”
EU-ToxRisk will also work with the Tox21 initiative in the US. “We clearly stated over the summer that we want to collaborate closely together,” said professor van de Water.
EU-ToxRisk, funded largely by Horizon 2020, will kick off in January 2016 and run for six years.”
Article of Emma Davies and Vanessa Zainzinger
EU-ToxRisk : http://www.eu-toxrisk.eu/
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