International call for research proposals on rare cancer drug development

Logo ATTRACT-call inclusief partnerlogo's

Full-proposal application phase is closed. Rebuttal week starts October 2nd.

Five European anti-cancer charities are joining forces to stimulate international research on rare cancer drug development. The focus of this joint international call, the ATTRACT-Call, is on late phase (2/3) clinical trials on rare cancer drugs. Main goals are improving treatment for rare cancer patients and accelerate the development of drugs for rare cancers. We encourage researchers and clinicians from different countries to join forces, share knowledge, and collaborate.


Eligible for this call are multicenter, international phase 2/3 clinical trials on medicinal products for rare cancer treatment (including drug repurposing). Main applicants as well as research consortium partners should be located in one of the funding countries (Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain), with a minimum of 2 participating countries. Applicants (funding recipients) should be either Academic research groups or Clinical/Public health sector research groups. To support swift enrolment of study patients in clinical trials, inclusion centers outside of the funding countries may be included in the proposal. Public-private collaborations are accepted under strict conditions; note that private parties will not receive direct funding. Active patient participation in the set up and execution of the proposals is required. A strong regulatory and implementation strategy (incl. EMA advise, orphan designation, early HTA) is not obliged but highly recommended.

Requirements & Guidelines

All information regarding the ATTRACT-call, including background, scope, application requirements, preferences and recommendations, review procedure, timelines, funding conditions and estimated budgets can be found in the Guidelines for Applicants (available for download below). Please read them carefully.

The call will make use of a pre- and full proposal review process. Applications have to be submitted via the electronic application system of KWF: Grant Management System (GMS). Please note that registration in the system is required prior to submitting your application. It is recommended to register as soon as possible. Please check at least six weeks before the call deadline if your registration is approved. Instructions how to register are provided in the Instructions for GMS for Applicants (available for download below). A preview of the application form is also available for download, but please do not use it to submit. You have to apply via the form in GMS.


Indicative budget

The indicative total budget for the ATTRACT-call is up to 11.5 million euro, provided by the 5 collaborating funding organisations: FC AECC, Anticancer Fund, Fondation ARC, Kom Op Tegen Kanker, KWF Dutch Cancer Society. 


Call Open: 22 November 2022 12:00
Application deadline pre-proposal: 31 January 2023 12:00
Full-proposal application phase is open for selected proposals
Application deadline full-proposal: 27 June 2023 12:00
Rebuttal week: first week of October 2023
Grant decision: December 2023


Following the Q&A session on December 1st, the ATTRACT consortium would like to publish the following clarification:

Therapies under IP-protection of a private partner may be fit to call and are not necessarily excluded. Protected therapies can be fit to call under important conditions that assure the possibility of further development and patient access as much as possible, as described in the Guidelines for Applicants. The following requirements should be met:

  • 'Commercial parties are requested to express their commitment and guarantee their maximum and reasonable efforts to accommodate further development, implementation and access for patients after the end of the project.

    I.e. results must be publishable by the applicants, and it should be possible to apply for registration (or similar, i.e. further development) after the trial.

  • 'Commercial parties will not receive funding directly and are required to provide co-funding and/or in-kind contribution to the projects.'

    I.e. the drug should be made available by the manufacturer for use during the trial.

    The wording 'existing drugs that are out of data protection and marketing protection' in the Guidelines for Applicants may suggest that trials with protected therapies are not allowed. However, as described above, these therapies are allowed under certain conditions. To prevent any further confusion, the wording in the Guidelines for Applicants (page 4) has been updated.

In the Guidelines for Applicants, it is stated that ‘all data and results that are generated during the project remain the sole property of the applicants or his/her affiliated research structure'. This requirement refers to the IP rights of the results, during the project. When the project is completed, IP rights can be transferred to the industry. By then the investigators (or affiliated institute) at least have a say in the negotiations and conditions. Clear agreements between industry partners and researchers should be in place prior to the trial, assuring independent research and publishing.

The wording in the Guidelines for Applicants may suggests that no IP-rights may go the industry at all; that is not the case as this requirement refers to study results obtained during the project. To prevent any further confusion, the wording in the Guidelines for Applicants (page 3) has been updated.