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The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), currently the largest public-private partnership in the European biopharmaceutical sector, has launched its second wave of research projects in key areas like cancer, immune-mediated diseases, infectious disorders and electronic health. With a budget of €172 millions, eight of the new IMI projects  —of the 23 total— will be launched over the coming weeks. The European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) have committed to contributing a combined total of €450 millions.

These eight projects are:

  • BTCure (Development of future curative treatments for early intervention against rheumatoid arthritis)
  • DDMoRe (Establishment of standards for common tools to enhance modeling and simulation technologies)
  • OncoTrack (Identification of new models to predict the response of patients to cancer treatments)
  • Predect (Development of new models for novel treatments of breast, prostate and lung cancer)
  • QuIC-ConCePT (Identification of specific imaging biomarkers to improve cancer drug development)
  • Rapp-ID (Development of a point-of-care test for rapid detection of microbes)
  • Open Phacts (Development of an open access innovation platform dedicated to drug discovery using a semantic web approach)
  • EHR4CR (Development of a electronic health records platform to support R&D projects on innovative medicines)

Predect, Oncotrack and QuIC-ConCePT all focus on developing better tools to diagnose lung, prostate, ovarian, breast and colon cancers. Rapp-ID and BTCure aim to facilitate development of new diagnostic tools related to infectious diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. DDMoRe, Open Phacts and EHR4CR, under the IMI’s Knowledge Management pillar, will work on new methods dedicated to common standards and data sharing on common platforms for more efficient drug development and patient treatment. 

Of the 17 Spanish members, 12 are Catalan

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said, “By speeding up drug development across Europe, the investments made by the IMI will ultimately save and improve lives, as well as making a major contribution to the Innovation Union and to growth and jobs."

CEO of UCB and member of the Board of EFPIA, Roch Doliveux, explained, “The industry has reached an inflection point where public-private partnerships, based on open innovation networks, will improve the efficiency of the pharmaceutical companies in bringing safe, efficacious, cost-effective treatments to patients.” EFPIA considers the IMI “a key instrument to implement the new business models which will ensure the sustainability of pharmaceutical industries across Europe.”

The first wave of IMI projects, which have been underway for around a year, are already providing tangible benefits thanks to the collaboration of 225 research groups, 23 large pharma companies, 298 academic teams from around Europe, 47 SMEs, 11 patient organizations and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The IMI has 17 partners in Spain, 12 of which are Catalan: the Autonomous University of Barcelona, University of Barcelona, Pompeu Fabra University, Catalan Institute of Pharmacology Foundation, IMIM Foundation, Catalan Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences Consortium, Laboratorios Almirall (two departments), Laboratorios Dr. Esteve, Lead Molecular Design, Neuroscience Technologies and Chemotargets.

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