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Latvia plans to develop innovative implantable biomaterials for use in oral and maxillofacial surgery, traumatology, orthopaedics and other areas by investing 30m euros into the Baltic Biomaterials Centre of Excellence (BBCE) over the next seven years. Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) and the RSU Institute of Stomatology will contribute considerably to finding ways of incorporating medications patients need into biomaterials, as well as clinically corroborate newly developed materials. 

Several partners will work comprehensively on the BBCE project, from laboratory ideas to products ready for the production stage: Riga Technical University (RTU), RSU, the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, the RSU Institute of Stomatology, the AO Research Institute Davos in Switzerland, and the Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Institute of Biomaterials in Germany.

‘Each partner is strong in a certain stage of biomaterial development. Using their considerable research experience into pharmaceutical technologies, biomaterials synthesised at RTU will be analysed at the RSU Finished Dosage Form Laboratory to find ways of incorporating medications into these innovative human “spare parts” in order for them to act locally,’ explains Associate Professor Dace Bandere, Dean of the RSU Faculty of Pharmacy.

This approach will be beneficial and prospective in surgery, as well as in the treatment of individual diseases providing relief to patients who will no longer have to remember to use certain medications regularly. It will also benefit the national economy since noncompliant patients are a burden on the healthcare budget.

Clinical testing of the developed products would be carried out at the RSU Institute of Stomatology, which has been co-operating with the RTU Rudolfs Cimdins Riga Biomaterials Innovation and Development Centre – the head office of the BBCE project – for years. Premises for research and administration, as well as for training doctoral students, medical residents and students will be developed at 20 Dzirciema Iela. There are also plans to purchase equipment like 3D scanners, 3D printers and an intraoperative cone-beam computed tomography device.

The total costs of the project are 30m euros. 15m euros will be covered by the European Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020, while the other half will be provided by the state, the European Regional Development Fund and project partners.

The opening of the BBCE project will take place on 29 January at the RTU Faculty of Materials Science and Applied Chemistry at 3/7 Paula Valdena Iela. The president of Latvia Egils Levits, officials from the European Commission and the government and representatives of various universities and scientific institutions will participate.

BBCE is a project (No. 857287) funded by Teaming Phase 2 of the EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.