The general objective of INNOCHEM is to develop innovative chemokine-based therapeutic strategies for autoimmunity and chronic inflammation. The project is based on the scientific excellence of the participants, which have made major recognized contributions to the field since the very beginning of chemokine discovery, and on the construction of shared technological platforms. This includes: i) proteomics and ii) transcriptional profiling for the outline of the "chemokinome" in pathophysiological conditions and identification of new antagonists; iii) molecular modelling of agonist/antagonist receptor or agonist/inhibitor interaction, for pharmacology and drug design; iv) gene modified mice for target validation in autoimmune disorders. Genetic, structural, biological, and immunopathological studies will provide a framework for the development of innovative chemokine-based therapeutic strategies. The therapeutic approaches to be investigated are innovative and not limited to conventional antagonists. These will include decoy receptors, agonist binders, and non-competitive allosteric inhibitors.
In addition to academic groups, therapy-oriented research includes 3 biotech SMEs, 1 medium and 2 big Pharma companies. The companies involved develop complementary non-overlapping approaches to target the chemokine system with recombinant and low molecular weight molecules. INNOCHEM is expected to conduct a "proof of principle" clinical study in volunteers in the first 18 months. The ambition of this project is to re-establish European leadership in basic and applied chemokine research by integrating academic and industrial cutting edge groups to develop innovative therapeutic strategies against autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory disorders.