Strategic Research Agenda
The IMI2 Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) covers the period 2014 to 2020. It is fully aligned with both the EU’s health research priorities (which were decided by the European Parliament and the Council during the negotiation of Horizon 2020), and the World Health Organisation’s Priority Medicines for Europe and the World report.
As founding member of IMI and source of half of our funding, EFPIA was entrusted with the preparation of the SRA. As part of this exercise, EFPIA held extensive discussion with the European Commission and drew on input from more than 80 organisations, including regulators, patients, and academia.
The research community also contributed to the development of the SRA through our Scientific Committee and States Representatives Group (SRG). The Scientific Committee is composed of internationally-recognised experts whose role is to advise on the priorities to be included in our SRA and annual work plans. Our SRG provides opinions on the strategic orientation of IMI and on links to Horizon 2020.
Finally, the IMI Governing Board formally endorsed the SRA in July 2014.
The IMI2 SRA - outline
The focus of IMI's SRA for the period 2014-2020 is on delivering ‘the right prevention and treatment for the right patient at the right time’. Thanks to the extensive consultation process through which it was drafted, the SRA has a strong focus on priority disease areas, where safe, effective treatments are lacking, and/or where the impact on public health is greatest. For example, IMI funds research on infectious diseases (antimicrobial resistance and Ebola), brain disorders (Alzheimer’s disease and autism), diabetes, and cancer.
The SRA identifies four major axes of research:
- Target validation and biomarker research (efficacy and safety)
- Adoption of innovative clinical trial paradigms
- Innovative medicines
- Patient-tailored adherence programmes.
It also sets out the health priorities to be addressed by our projects, which are:
- antimicrobial resistance
- cardiovascular diseases
- neurodegenerative diseases
- psychiatric diseases
- respiratory diseases
- immune-mediated diseases
- ageing-associated diseases
- rare/orphan diseases
The IMI1 research agenda (2008-2013)
The first IMI research agenda was adopted in 2008 following extensive consultation with stakeholders. It had the title ‘Creating biomedical R&D leadership for Europe to benefit patients and society’ and was based on four pillars:
- Improved predictivity of drug safety evaluation
- Improved predictivity of efficacy evaluation
- Knowledge management
- Education and training
The 2008 SRA also identified some priority disease areas, most notably cancer, brain diseases (e.g. dementia), inflammatory diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), metabolic disorders (e.g. diabetes), and infectious diseases (including vaccines). It also flagged up research priorities, including biomarkers and biobanks; regulatory and legal hurdles; and science communication.
The SRA was updated in 2011 to take into account new developments in medicines research and drug discovery. The update was led by our Scientific Committee and was also the subject of a consultation with stakeholders. Among other things, the updated SRA sought to make IMI more patient-centric and added new research priority areas to the SRA:
- pharmacogenetics and taxonomy of human diseases
- rare diseases and stratified therapies
- systems approaches in drug research
- beyond high throughput screening - pharmacological interactions at the molecular level
- active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) technology (drug compound development)
- advanced formulations
- stem cells for drug development and toxicity screening
- integration of imaging techniques into drug research.