Our society has become very sensitive to the way animals are treated. This is reflected in the legislation governing animal welfare, which is designed to protect and ensure the welfare of animals and regulates the behaviour of humans towards animals. The 3R Research Foundation was set up in 1987 in response to this legislation. It supports research projects aiming to develop methods that Replace animal studies, Reduce the number of laboratory animals used or Refine the studies in order to minimise the burden on laboratory animals during breeding, transport, husbandry and the studies themselves.
The member companies of Interpharma are in an ongoing, open and constructive dialogue about animal studies and animal welfare, and invest in the implementation of the 3R principles in their research. Measures include making optimum use of their historical animal data in order to improve assessment of the toxicity risk to humans while at the same time reducing the number of animal studies. Approaches such as data annotation and expanded modelling functions (using artificial intelligence, including multitasking and deep learning) are being intensified to enable in silico predictions to be made in pharmacology. Interpharma member companies are also involved in a number of related international cooperations.
3R Competence Centre (3RCC)
The national 3R Competence Centre (3RCC) was set up in 2018 to promote the 3R principles throughout Switzerland. The objectives of the 3RCC are to promote high-quality 3R research projects, to develop a strategy for 3R-based initial and further training and to establish a professional communication strategy. The 3RCC provides all involved stakeholders with access to the latest information about 3R and alternatives to animal studies, and offers its services to authorities, teaching and training establishments and other interested parties. The Centre also monitors the progress made in these areas in Switzerland. It is funded by eleven universities, Interpharma, the Swiss animal welfare organisation and the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO).