Innovative Medicines Initiative reveals new research topics and a new Executive Director

Innovative Medicines Initiative, the public–private partnership between the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA), today made its first major announcement of the success of the collaboration.

Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) also announced the topics of research of its second call for proposals. With these topics, IMI aims to accelerate the discovery and development of new medicines in the field of cancer, inflammatory and infectious disease. The funding available for the second call will be €156.3 million: €76.8 million provided by the European Commission and €79.5 million expected to be provided in kind from EFPIA member companies. IMI also introduced also its newly appointed Executive Director, Michel Goldman, who will officially take up his post on 16 September.

The EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potocnik underlined the achievements and major advances of the initiative: ‘IMI is our response to the need of improving Europe's attractiveness for pharmaceutical R&D and to ensure that results from fundamental research can be rapidly translated into new innovative treatments. We should see results from this exciting new research mechanism very soon and hereby that new innovative medicines should reach European patients faster.’

Addressing the media at the event, Arthur J. Higgins, CEO of Bayer HealthCare and President of EFPIA, praised the collaboration between the industry and Commission: ’The IMI is a clear statement that Europe intends to be at the forefront of biopharmaceutical innovation. By accelerating and optimizing R & D processes we are trying to remove bottlenecks in the drug development process. For this reason, we have already invested €246 million – including €136 million from industry – in the successful proposals to date. The greatest success of this initiative has been in bringing together normally competing pharmaceutical companies with academic stakeholders in an unparalleled effort to accelerate the discovery of innovative medicines.’

The newly appointed Executive Director, Professor Michel Goldman, said: ’I am very pleased to be joining IMI at such an exciting moment in its development. On the basis of my previous experience in public–private partnerships, my first priority will be to strengthen the bridges between academia and industry in the interest of patients.’

Michel Goldman's appointment as IMI's new Executive Director is an important step towards IMI's complete autonomy from the European Commission and EFPIA.

The new research topics have been approved by the IMI Board after extensive consultation between various stakeholders, including the IMI scientific committee, Member states representatives, the European commission and pharmaceutical companies that are members of EFPIA, all of which are committed to collaborating with public and private organization to address these issues more efficiently. IMI's second call for proposals should be launched on 30 October 2009.

The nine topics of IMI’s second call for proposals are:

  • Imaging biomarkers for anticancer drug development.
  • Molecular biomarkers: accelerating cancer therapy development and refining patient care.
  • Identification and development of rapid point of care diagnostic tests for bacterial diagnosis to facilitate conduct of clinical trials and clinical practice.
  • Understanding aberrant adaptive immunity mechanisms.
  • Translational research in chronic immune-mediated disease: bridging between animal models and humans.
  • Drug/disease modelling: library and framework.
  • Open pharmacological space.
  • Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

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