Paediatric specialists in Europe have launched a consortium to work on the development of new drugs and additional therapies for children.

The Collaborative Network for European Clinical Trials for Children, otherwise known as conect4children (c4c), will be comprised of researchers from 33 academic institutions and ten industry partners from 20 European nations, as well as more than 50 third party groups and approximately 500 affiliated collaborators.

The consortium aims to leverage existing expertise and patient access in order to improve competitiveness of Europe for making paediatric drugs.

In addition, the partners intend to create processes that can be applied to disease natural history and new treatment studies, registries, and comparisons of existing therapies.

Over the next six years, the c4c network will devise a pan-European framework to design and implement multinational clinical trials for children across Europe, while building connections with regulators.

“This network will have a significant impact on how we develop much-needed innovative and improved medicines.”

Their efforts will also include new trial designs and quantitative methods to develop medicines for rare paediatric conditions and high medical need areas.

The University of Liverpool Institute of Translational Medicine clinical neonatologist Dr Mark Turner said: “This network will have a significant impact on how we develop much-needed innovative and improved medicines for babies, children and young people.

“A number of collaborations built up over the past decade will contribute to this pan-European research network.”

Turner will lead the development and implementation of the network, while the c4c hub in the UK will be headed by the Liverpool University’s Child Health professor Michael Beresford.

The c4c project is being funded by Europe’s largest public private partnership Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking, which is financially supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the region’s pharmaceutical industry.