EPAA Annual Meeting 2023: Protection of people and environment through NAMs

Posted on: 14/04/2024

Title: EPAA Annual Meeting 2023: Protection of people and environment through NAMs

 

The ‘European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing’ (EPAA) Annual Conference was held on the 15th November 2023 in Brussels, and was themed ‘Protection of People and our Environment through NAMs’. More than 250 participants from Academics, Industry, Regulatory Authorities, Research Institutes and Non-governmental organizations attended the event.

 

Keynote Speeches

Christos Vasilakos from the European Parliament highlighted the political priority of the European Commission (EC) to accelerate the transition to animal-free sustainable innovations by increasing the use of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs). The EC promised to draft a roadmap for reducing animal testing. Following this keynote speech, Nicolas Dudoignon from Sanofi underlined the importance of collaborations to foster science, bridge gaps and work towards the international regulatory acceptance of NAMs.

 

State of the Partnership

Gavin Maxwell (EPAA Industry co-chair) presented the main activities of EPAA for 2023, including the organisation of a workshop on the future of pyrogenicity testing in collaboration with the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM), the launch of the EPAA Designathon for Human Systemic Toxicity and the organisation of the Partners Forum on the use of alternatives to animal testing for environmental safety assessment. Then, Christiane Hohensee (EPAA’s advisory mirror group) discussed different issues raised by the mirror group such as future fundings of the validation process or the use of the Developmental Neurotoxicity in vitro test battery.

 

Impact of the EU Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) on Innovation and Animal Testing

The third session of the conference gathered perspectives from different stakeholders who agreed that the EU Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) will have an important impact on animal testing. During this session, Sylvie Lemoine (European Chemical Industry Council, Cefic) presented the views from the EU chemical industry on NAMs. Although the public has high expectations to move away from animal testing, this transition cannot be achieved in one day and must be gradual. In this respect, she indicated that the industry will support the EC in establishing the roadmap and that collaboration between stakeholders is essential to achieve the common objective of phasing out animal testing. Merel Ritkes-Hoitinga (Utrecht University) stressed the commitment of EFPIA members to phase-in NAMs, eliminating obsolete animal tests and maximising the use of available data. The session was closed with a panel debate with comments and questions from the public. During the panel discussion, Merel Ritkes-Hoitinga highlighted the EU learning module 52 'Searching for (existing) non-animal alternatives' and particularly the 3 categories of Replacement: ‘one-on-one Replacement’; ‘complex Replacement via in vitro and in silico combinations’; and ‘Rephrasing research questions’.

 

Impact of Pharma Strategy on Innovation and Animal Testing

The conference concluded with contributions from Sara Rafael Almeida (DG Santé), Kristy Reid (EFPIA) and Sonja Beken (European Medicine Agency, EMA). They discussed the reform of the pharmaceutical legislation, the commitment of industry to phase in NAMs and the activities of the Joint 3Rs Working Party of the EMA, including trainings, stakeholders interaction and international collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.

 

Conclusions

The EPAA's Annual Conference of 2023 explored the perspectives from chemical and pharmaceutical industry to reduce animal testing and the future Commission's roadmap to reduce animal experimentation in the field of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The emphasis was put on collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders, making the replacement and reduction of animal testing a collective effort.

 

Resources:

EPAA Annual Conference 2023, 15 November 2023, Brussels