The Austrian Federal Government is making € 23 million in funding available for drug research to fight the coronavirus. The financial support primarily targets projects designed to conduct research into the effectiveness of existing drugs as a means of combatting the coronavirus. The additional funding is designed to accelerate the required clinical studies.
"Conducting research in the battle against the virus is the most effective means to quickly develop a vaccine and medicines. The financial boost enables us to accelerate research, and we want to conduct clinical research on those drugs which are far advanced as quickly as possible", says Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs. "Every day counts in the fight against the coronavirus. We have several of the world's best scientists in this sector in the country. We want to support their work", states Leonore Gewessler, Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, commenting on the initiative.
Heinz Faßmann, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research, is also lending his support. "As an accompanying measure, we will provide an additional € 2 million to the medical universities so that they can participate in the clinical studies together with the companies. Austria is well positioned in the field of life sciences, from basic research to production and sales".
Applications can be submitted to the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) at www.ffg.at/corona. Two deadlines have been set (8 April 2020, 11 May 2020) to provide a basis for quick decisions and thus a rapid start of the projects. The accelerated process is designed to enable research activities to be launched as fast as possible. Companies based in Austria working on active substances to combat COVID-19 or the consequences of the coronavirus (e.g. pneumonia) and who want to quickly initiate a clinical study (Phase I or II) can apply for funding. Funding will be provided to cover all costs related to the studies, for example personnel and material costs for assessment teams. No limitation exists on third-party costs.
"Austria is a strong life sciences location with the potential to quickly develop new drugs and carry out tests in clinical studies. The additional funds provide the basis for us to support researchers and companies to stand up to the coronavirus", according to Henrietta Egerth and Klaus Pseiner, Managing Directors of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).