The European Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 (IMI2) is a Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) bringing together companies, universities, public laboratories, innovative SMEs, patient groups and regulators. It will pave the way for breakthrough vaccines, medicines and treatments to address Europe’s health challenges through a combined science and innovation effort.
The new IMI2 JTI is expected to start in January 2014 and end in 2024. It will bring together the members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and also will be open to other industries and sectors.
IMI2 will provide more efficient and effective medicines and treatments. Cost savings will ease the burden on public healthcare systems and greater coordination across industry sectors will result in more reliable, faster clinical trials and better regulation. IMI2 research and innovation efforts also will open commercial possibilities based on news services and products.
The research, industry and societal sectors involved in IMI2 will benefit from the cooperation and knowledge sharing that takes place in these projects. In particular, IMI2 aims to deliver a 30% better success rate in clinical trials of priority medicines identified by the WHO; clinical proof of concept in immunological, respiratory, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases in just five years; and new and approved diagnostic markers for four of these diseases and at least two new medicines, which could be either new antibiotics or new therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.
IMI2 is based on equal sharing of cost between the E.U. budget and the private sector. The estimated budget of IMI2 is $4.5 billion. The E.U. will contribute up to $2.25 billion from Horizon 2020, the next E.U. research and innovation program. This will match the in-kind EFPIA commitment of up to $1.95 billion and an additional amount of up to $293.5 million if other life science industries decide to join and contribute to IMI2 as members or associated partners in individual projects.
JTIs are partnerships between the E.U. and industry. They establish their own strategic research agenda and fund projects selected through open and competitive calls for project proposals. The new IMI JTI will be managed by a dedicated entity called a Joint Undertaking, whose governing board, comprising equal numbers of representatives of the European Commission and industry, will take funding decisions.
The 40 ongoing projects funded by the current IMI partnership already have achieved faster development of diabetes drugs through the first human pancreatic beta-cell line; new models to better predict drug toxicity; a new definition of severe asthma that promises to unlock new therapies; the world’s largest database of schizophrenia studies to develop more targeted treatments and a better understanding of the mechanisms of chronic pain.
The first phase had a maximum budget of $2.6 billion and already has brought together 4,500 researchers, 183 research organizations, 387 universities, 363 companies and 109 SMEs.