The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public-private partnership in health R&D, has successfully launched its third wave of projects. The seven new projects, which have a combined total cost of $267 million and will run for five years, are taking on some of the biggest challenges in healthcare research.
Some of the new projects aim to speed up the search for more effective treatments for diseases and conditions that are currently difficult to manage. For example, PreDiCT-TB is investigating ways of designing new combinations of drugs to make tuberculosis treatments more patient-friendly, while DIRECT aims to pave the way for type 2 diabetes patients to benefit from personalized medicines. Meanwhile EU-AIMS is working towards the development of new treatments designed specifically to treat autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Other projects are focused more on safety issues. MIP-DILI aims to make it easier for researchers to identify potential drugs that are likely to cause liver damage — an important issue because drug-induced liver injury is a leading cause of liver failure. ABIRISK is working in the emerging area of biopharmaceuticals — novel drugs which are based on biological molecules such as proteins and can occasionally trigger an immune response. ABIRISK’s goal is to study the underlying causes of the immune response with a view to improving the safety of biopharmaceuticals. Elsewhere, BIOVACSAFE is working to develop tools to accelerate procedures to test and monitor vaccine safety.
IMI has launched another Education & Training project that will create the European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI), which will educate patients and the public about medicines development and empower patients to engage more effectively in the drug development process.
“These projects are all taking on research challenges that would be too big for one company or academic team to tackle on its own,” said IMI executive director Michel Goldman. “They therefore demonstrate IMI’s value in creating pan-European teams of experts that are in a position to make major advances in these critical areas.”
The new projects mean that IMI is now supporting a total of 30 projects with a combined total cost of over $809 million. All IMI projects are jointly supported by the E.U. (in cash) and the member companies of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).
Looking to the future, IMI expects to kick-off a fourth round of projects by the end of the year in areas related to obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, drug delivery by nano-carriers, sustainable chemical drug production, the behavior of drugs in the human body, knowledge management and stem cells for drug discovery, as well as a fifth wave of projects building a Joint European Compound Collection and a European Screening Centre.