The Fondazione FiorGen was established in 2003 through the scientific collaboration between the Centro di Risonanze Magnetiche (CERM) of the Polo Scientifico (Scientific Campus) of Sesto Fiorentino and the Polo Biomedico of Careggi. It performs research activities aimed at scientific progress, cultural development and social solidarity, aiming at the identification of indications for pharmacological treatment and drugs that are “customised” on the basis of the individual genome in order to make treatments safer and more effective.
The Foundation is financially supported by the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, which has disbursed around 5 million euro. These funds have enabled the realisation of important projects such as the creation of the da Vinci European BioBank (daVEB) and the development of the “Melanoma Project”. The da Vinci European BioBank is a research infrastructure belonging to the Fondazione Farmacogenomica and is hosted at the Centro Risonanze Magnetiche (CERM), a centre of expertise for structural biology and metabolomics. It is the first Italian structure to qualify to become part of the European biobank network, a result that has been made possible by the synergy between molecular biologists, doctors and information scientists.
The biobank conserves biological samples and is equipped with a centralised data processing centre in which the information on the samples collected is filed in complete respect of the donors’ privacy. The creation of local repositories located elsewhere within the region is scheduled. At present the main repository, where the samples are conserved at extremely low temperatures (-80°C and -170°C), is fully operative, situated in the University Scientific Campus at Sesto Fiorentino. The equipment is supported by a special system for liquid nitrogen distribution, and the structure is equipped with a monitoring and control system able to record all the input signals coming from the equipment, recording and signalling any anomalies.