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COUNTERACT: The CEA coordinating a European project on CBRN defense

The CEA is coordinating the project COUNTERACT,  the objective of which is to improve the European Union's preparedness for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats. The four-year project was launched in December 2022.

CEA institutes involved in the project include the François Jacob Institute of Biology with its IDMIT and iRCM divisions, and the Frédéric Joliot Institute for Life Sciences with its Pharmacology and Immunoanalysis Unit (SPI) within the Medicines and Healthcare Technologies Department (DMTS).

Published on 6 January 2023

With €49 million in co-funding from the European Defense Fund1, the objective of COUNTERACT is to enable preclinical and clinical studies on the safety and efficacy of medical countermeasures to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) events.

The four-year project was launched in December 2022. It brings together 26 major European actors from 11 Member States: five universities, three technological research organizations including the CEA, 10 public research institutes and eight SMEs and start-ups.

The COUNTERACT project will:

·         develop four families of medical countermeasures, including two to be submitted to the European Medicines Agency for market authorization;  

·         favor EU autonomy in the development and production of CBRN countermeasures by establishing a network of reliable European industries, research labs, CROs and hospital centers, all contributive to an agile and effective health structure for the needs of defense; 

·         establish a roadmap for the next generation of medical countermeasures to current and future CBRN threats, ease market authorization processes, secure EU autonomous supply chains and prepare stock and deployment strategies.

"By leveraging the European public-private ecosystem, COUNTERACT intends to prepare the European Union for current and future CBRN defense needs. For this expansive project, The CEA is making available its renowned and extensive knowledge in the fields of virology, immunology, pharmacology and radiobiology." Roger Le Grand, director of IDMIT2 at the CEA and coordinator of the COUNTERACT project.

"The COUNTERACT project brings together a range of uniquely capable European research teams and actors in the pharmaceutical industry to develop medical countermeasures to CBRN threats. Those countermeasures will need to be effective, and easily & rapidly deployable. Our ambition with COUNTERACT is also to structure the involved European entities into a reactive and dexterous network able to accelerate the preclinical and clinical development of the countermeasures." Nathalie Dereuddre-Bosquet, assistant director of the COUNTERACT project.


1 The European Defense Fund supports competitive and collaborative projects during their R&D cycles to increase their contributions to defense capacities and the European industrial landscape. To learn more: The European Defense Fund (EDF) (

2 Infectious Disease  Models and Innovative Therapies, a mixed research unit located at the CEA Fontenay-aux-Roses site


The COUNTERACT partners :

· The CEA and its subcontractors SUB1- Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) and SUB2- ARTTIC SAS (ARTTIC)
-  Amsterdam UMC (AMC)
- Bundeswehr Institute of Radiobiology (IRr)
- University of Tours (Univ. Tours) and its affiliated entity AE1-French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm)
- Training, Research and Innovation Division (DFRI) of the French Army Health Services (SSA)
- European Research Infrastructure on Highly Pathogenic Agents (ERINHA) and its affiliated entities AE1- Nemzeti Nepegeszsegugyi Kozpont (NNK), AE2- Public Health Agency of Sweden (FOHM) and AE3-French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm)
- Fabentech (FBT)
- Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI)
- Myelo Therapeutics Gmbh (Mt) and its subcontractors SUB1- Pivotal S.L.U (PIVOTAL) and SUB2- Convex Ltd (CONVEX); SUBs 3 and 4 remain to be determined
- National University of Ireland-Galway (NUI-GWY)
- Robert Koch Institute
- SoftOx Defense Solutions AS (SOFTOX)
- Nederlandse Organisatie Voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek TNO (TNO)
- Czech Republic University of Defense (UNOB) 
- Wirtschaftsgenissenschaft Deutscher Tierarzte EG (WDT)
-Wojskowy Instytut Higieny I Epidemiologii (WIHIE)
- Wojskowy Instytut Medyczny - Państwowy Instytut Badawczy (WIM MIM)
- Cr Competence AB (CRC) 
- University of Copenhagen (UCPH)

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