IMI grew out of the European Technology Platform on Innovative Medicines. The platform was launched under the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme for Research (FP6) as a gathering of stakeholders, led by the pharmaceutical industry.
A Vision document, produced by EFPIA, identified the key hurdles in research that should be overcome in order to boost the drug development process:
- difficulty in predicting safety.
- difficulty in predicting efficacy.
- poor knowledge management.
- gaps in education & training.
Based upon these four pillars, a Strategic Research Agenda was developed under the lead of industry, involving all stakeholder groups:
- academia, represented by universities and other public research institutions,
- biopharmaceutical companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),
- healthcare providers and clinical centres,
- regulators and
- patients' organisations.
Under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) have been created to set up public-private partnerships in research at European level. The Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking is one of the first JTIs to be launched.
The current IMI Research Agenda is based on a strategy defined in the Strategic Research Agenda. The Research Agenda sets out the multiannual research priorities of IMI, on which the annual scientific priorities and the topics of the annual Calls for proposals are based.