- €196 million European Lead Factory project gets underway
- First antimicrobial resistance projects officially launched
- Sign up for the joint IMI – C-Path event on 7 March
- Join IMI in Dublin for a workshop on personalised medicine
- IMI Stakeholder Forum 2013 – save the date!
- Independent experts: IMI ‘should be continued with enlarged scope’
- 8th Call for proposals – countdown to the deadline!
- IMI in the news
- News from the projects
€196 million European Lead Factory project gets underway
IMI, together with 30 project partners from across Europe, has successfully launched the European Lead Factory project, paving the way for the creation of a novel platform for drug discovery in Europe. Comprising a collection of half a million compounds (derived from new public and existing private company collections) and a screening centre, the European Lead Factory will offer researchers in academia, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and patient organisations an unprecedented opportunity to advance medical research and develop new medicines. Sites in Scotland and the Netherlands will run state of the art facilities for compound logistics and high throughput screening respectively to handle the 500 000-strong compound library and to evaluate new compounds that are active against the novel targets. Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, welcomed the launch of the project, stating that it ‘promotes the life sciences sector as central to continued economic growth in Scotland’. The news was picked up by a number of news outlets, including Nature and the BBC.
First antimicrobial resistance projects officially launched
The first two projects under IMI’s New Drugs 4 Bad Bugs (ND4BB) programme on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) have been officially launched. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause 25 000 deaths in the EU every year and cost the economy €1.5 billion. The ND4BB programme represents an unprecedented partnership between industry, academia and biotech organisations to combat antibiotic resistance in Europe. The first two projects in the programme are COMBACTE-CARE, COMBACTE-MAGNET, COMBACTE-NET (Combatting Bacterial Resistance in Europe) and TRANSLOCATION (Molecular basis of the bacterial cell wall permeability). The €194.6 million COMBACTE project aims to create a new comprehensive clinical research agenda to address antibacterial resistance, while the €29.3 million TRANSLOCATION project will investigate new pathways for getting antibiotics into bacteria.
- Read IMI’s press release on the projects
Sign up for the joint IMI – C-Path event on 7 March
Registration is now open for the event Collaborating for Cures - Leveraging Global Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to Accelerate Medical Product Development, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium on 7 March 2013. This first ever public conference co-sponsored by IMI and the Critical Path Institute (C-Path) will feature cross-sector participants discussing challenges and opportunities in the rapidly-evolving PPP space. The objective is to identify mechanisms for enhancing the productivity of PPPs, coordinating individual PPP efforts to avoid duplication, and adopting best practices on data sharing, intellectual property, and other cross-cutting issues in order to streamline medical product development world-wide. The event will feature case studies involving IMI and C-Path projects on Alzheimer’s disease and tuberculosis. Registration is free but obligatory.
- Sign up to attend the event here
Join IMI in Dublin for a workshop on personalised medicine
IMI will hold a workshop entitled Applying open innovation to bring personalised medicine to new disease areas on the afternoon of 20 March in Dublin, Ireland. The workshop will set the stage for an event on Innovation and Patient Access to Personalised Medicine which is organised by the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) under the auspices of the Irish Presidency of the EU Council. The IMI workshop will feature presentations demonstrating how IMI projects are working on personalised medicines development in diverse disease areas. Meanwhile the EAPM event on 21 March will focus on how Europe’s healthcare systems can adapt to advances in personalised medicine so that patients can benefit from them fully.
- Registration for both events is free but obligatory via the EAPM event website
IMI Stakeholder Forum 2013 – save the date!
The brain will be the focus of IMI’s Stakeholder Forum 2013, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium on 13 May 2013. Brain disorders affect 1 in 3 Europeans and cost the economy €798 billion every year. However, there are few effective treatments in this area and developing new drugs to treat brain disorders takes longer and costs more than for other diseases. The Stakeholder Forum will focus on how IMI projects are tackling these challenges at all levels by enhancing our understanding of brain disorders, developing new tools to improve drug development in this area, and improving clinical trial design. This focus on the brain is timely as the European Commission has declared May 2013 the Month of the Brain. The event will also include an update on IMI’s Calls for proposals and future plans. Confirmed speakers include Francoise Grossetete MEP, Adam Smith of the Nobel Institute, and the coordinators of IMI’s brain and central nervous system projects. More information on the event will be released in the coming weeks – follow IMI on Twitter or join our LinkedIn group for the latest updates.
Independent experts: IMI ‘should be continued with enlarged scope’
‘IMI is a success. It is working and should be continued with an enlarged scope.’ This is the headline recommendation from a recent report by independent experts appointed by the European Commission to carry out an impact assessment on the launch of a public-private partnership (PPP) in life sciences research under Horizon 2020. ‘[IMI] has achieved and demonstrated scientific excellence and is effectively addressing key challenges and barriers in biomedical research and development,’ the experts write. The experts also note that IMI’s operational implementation has ‘significantly improved’ over the years. Describing IMI as ‘by far the most important PPP in the field of medicine’, the experts recommend that a successor programme be launched, ‘building upon the successes and lessons learned from the current IMI’.
8th Call for proposals – countdown to the deadline!
There are just a few weeks left to submit Expressions of Interest in response to IMI’s 8th Call for proposals. The Call was launched before Christmas with the following topics:
Topics under the IMI programme 'Combating Antibiotic Resistance: New Drugs for Bad Bugs (ND4BB)'
- Topic 1C: Innovative Trial Design & Clinical Development (work package 6 of Topic 1)
- Topic 3: Discovery and development of new drugs combating Gram – negative infections
Topics under the Theme 'Developing an aetiology-based taxonomy for human diseases'
- Topic A: Approaches to develop a new classification for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and related connective tissue disorders and Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Topic B: Approaches to develop a new classification for neurodegenerative disorders with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
European induced pluripotent stem cell bank
The deadline for submitting Expressions of Interest is 19 March 2013. The full Call text as well as details of how to apply can be found on the 8th Call web page. Any questions about the Call topics or IMI’s rules and procedures should be sent to Infodesk[AT]imi.europa.eu
IMI in the news
IMI is increasingly being cited in the news and in reports and articles by opinion leaders. Here are some recent highlights.
- Nature Reviews Drug Discovery cited IMI’s European Lead Factory and antimicrobial resistance projects in its review of 2012.
- IMI’s antimicrobial resistance projects were highlighted in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2013 report (see page 32).
- Nobel Prize winner and President of the UK’s Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse mentioned IMI in an article in the Observer on the benefits of EU membership to UK research.
- Nature Biotechnology spotlighted IMI’s CHEM 21 project in an article on greener drug manufacture.
- The editorial of the latest issue of the journal ATLA — Alternatives to Laboratory Animals includes a section on IMI’s work in this area.
- A recent editorial in the journal Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology explains how IMI’s NEWMEDS project is tackling key issues in psychiatric disorder research.
News from the projects
- PROTECT project releases major pharmacovigilance databases
IMI’s PROTECT project has published two key databases for pharmacovigilance on its website. The inventory of Drug Consumption Databases in Europe provides a comprehensive and structured source of information on drug consumption in Europe, while the PROTECT ADR database is a downloadable Excel file listing all adverse drug reactions (ADRs) listed in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) of medicinal products authorised in the EU. ‘We hope that these databases will represent useful resources for the scientific community and for regulatory and public health authorities,’ said PROTECT project coordinator Xavier Kurz of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
- Pregnant women needed for PROTECT survey on medicines use in pregnancy
Elsewhere, the PROTECT team has launched a major, four-country survey on drug use by pregnant women. Although automated systems can find out what medicines have been prescribed for pregnant women, they do not provide information on whether or not the patient actually took the drugs, and they do not cover medicines bought over the counter or herbal and homeopathic remedies. By gathering detailed data on pregnant women’s actual medicine intake, as well as information on lifestyle factors, the PROTECT project hopes to be able to improve the advice given to pregnant women and so make pregnancies safer.
- eTRIKS launches new version of TransMART knowledge management system
IMI’s eTRIKS project has launched a new version of its open, sustainable translational research informatics / knowledge management platform TransMART. The update is important because it includes the replacement of a proprietary component with an open source component, and so will allow the project to build on inputs from the wider development community. Using open source software instead of proprietary software will result in savings of some €350 000 in licensing fees over five years for projects using eTRIKS’s services. Elsewhere, the project has already delivered three webinars on TransMART and launched a LinkedIn group to provide updates on the project’s activities and encourage debates on issues relating to data and knowledge management.
- IMI Education & Training projects in the spotlight at DIA EuroMeeting 2013
This year’s DIA EuroMeeting, which will be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from 4 to 6 March, features an entire theme dedicated to IMI’s five Education & Training (E&T) projects. The sessions will feature the latest news from the projects and demonstrate how they are helping to advance education in the biomedical sector in Europe. DIA EuroMeeting visitors can also catch up with the projects and find out how IMI’s E&T projects can boost their careers at Booth 918 in the exhibition area.
- View the agenda for the IMI theme in the DIA EuroMeeting programme (page 46)
- BIOVISION and the IMI Education & Training projects
IMI and the IMI Education & Training projects will participate in BIOVISION - the World Life Sciences Forum, which will be held in Lyon, France, on March 24-26 2013. It is the place where key stakeholders can debate the impact of the latest scientific advances on society and share their vision on how to overcome health, environment and nutrition challenges. IMI Executive Director Michel Goldman will participate in the plenary session ‘How to make better use of collective intelligence’. Mike Hardman, project coordinator of EMTRAIN, will represent IMI and the IMI E&T projects in the BIOVISION Investor Conference workshop. Moreover, the IMI E&T projects are organising a satellite event on ‘Training and Education in Europe’ where they will present their activities to the forum’s participants at a booth in the exhibition area.