- IMI Stakeholder Forum 2013 - Nobel Prize winner confirmed as speaker
- Flu vaccines subject of new indicative IMI Call topic
- Lively discussions at joint IMI – C-Path event
- IMI’s personalised medicine projects in the spotlight in Dublin
- Thomson Reuters report highlights impact of IMI projects
- UK Chief Medical Officer points to IMI in major antibiotic resistance report
- European Journal of Immunology puts IMI projects in the spotlight
- News from the projects
IMI Stakeholder Forum 2013 - Nobel Prize winner confirmed as speaker
Nobel Laureate and leading immunologist Rolf Zinkernagel of the University of Zurich in Switzerland will be the closing keynote speaker at IMI’s Stakeholder Forum which will be held in Brussels, Belgium on Monday 13 May 2013. Professor Zinkernagel was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1996, along with Peter C. Doherty of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the US, for ‘discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defence’.
The morning of the Stakeholder Forum will be dedicated to brain research, and the opening address will be delivered by neurologist Richard Frackowiak of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. In addition to experts from IMI’s neurology projects, other confirmed speakers include Françoise Grosstête MEP and Robert-Jan Smits, Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.
Registration for the event will open shortly.
Flu vaccines subject of new indicative IMI Call topic
‘Correlates of protection for influenza vaccines’ is the title of a new indicative topic under consideration for inclusion in a future IMI Call for proposals. The topic refers to the need to develop better tests to determine the actual levels of protection offered by flu vaccines to different groups (e.g. the elderly, children, adults, etc.). Other topics already under consideration for future Calls are:
- Development of drug-drug combinations
- Leveraging emerging technology for pharmacovigilance
- Developing an aetiology-based taxonomy for human diseases: respiratory disease with a focus on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Outlines of some of these topics are already available on the Future Topics page of the IMI website. More information on all planned topics will be made available as soon as possible.
All information regarding future IMI Calls for proposals is indicative and subject to change. Final information about IMI’s future Calls will be communicated after approval by the IMI Governing Board.
Lively discussions at joint IMI – C-Path event
Over 120 people took part in the recent event on ‘Collaborating for cures - leveraging global public-private partnerships (PPPs) to accelerate biopharmaceuticals development’, which was organised jointly by IMI and the Critical Path Institute (C-Path). Many more followed the event online.
The event was the scene of lively discussions on issues such as intellectual property, the involvement of patients in research, and how to measure the success of a PPP. The afternoon featured case studies of IMI and C-Path projects on Alzheimer’s disease and tuberculosis. The presentations are already online on the event web page, and a report on the event will be released in the near future. Meanwhile, people who want to watch the debates can catch up by watching the webcast (NB registration is required).
IMI’s personalised medicine projects in the spotlight in Dublin
Around 70 people attended the IMI workshop Applying open innovation to bring personalised medicine to new disease areas in Dublin, Ireland on 20 March. The event featured presentations demonstrating how IMI projects are working on personalised medicines development in diverse disease areas, most notably severe asthma (U-BIOPRED), rheumatoid arthritis (BT-Cure, and type 2 diabetes (DIRECT). The IMI workshop set the stage for a wider conference, organised by the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM), on the current barriers to the wider use of personalised medicines and how they can be dismantled. A report on personalised medicine, including a section on IMI, will be published in the near future.
Thomson Reuters report highlights impact of IMI projects
A new report prepared by Thomson Reuters for IMI sheds new light on the quality of research taking place in IMI projects. The report, based on an analysis of IMI research associated with projects launched under IMI’s first three Calls for proposals, uses citations as an index of research quality and co-authorship as an index of collaboration. The report reveals that IMI projects have produced 320 publications so far and that figure is rising fast. Furthermore, the report notes that IMI project research is ‘well-regarded’ – the citation impact of IMI research is well above both world and European averages, and over a tenth of papers from IMI projects are ‘highly cited’ (i.e. when ranked by the number of times they are cited in other papers, they fall in the top 10% of papers in their journal category and year of publication).
The collaborative nature of IMI projects is also made clear in the report, which shows that two-fifths of all publications by IMI researchers are cross-sector (e.g. academic institutions working with biotech companies). In addition, around a quarter of all publications were cross-project. Thomson Reuters is continually analysing the output of IMI’s projects, and the next report will be published in the autumn.
UK Chief Medical Officer points to IMI in major antibiotic resistance report
IMI hit the headlines earlier in March when it was cited in a major report on antimicrobial resistance published by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies. Launching the report, Professor Davies stated that antibiotic resistance poses a ‘catastrophic threat’, and underlined the urgent need for new antibiotics, among other things, to tackle the problem. Here, she pointed to IMI as an example of how the pharmaceutical industry can be incentivised to work on antibiotic development. As a result, IMI was mentioned in articles in the Guardian, BBC, and Euractiv, among others.
European Journal of Immunology puts IMI projects in the spotlight
A new article in the European Journal of Immunology sets out how IMI is helping to advance immunology research with projects on topics such as rheumatoid arthritis, severe asthma, vaccine safety, and biopharmaceuticals. The article was written by IMI Executive Director Michel Goldman and Scientific Officers Maria Teresa De Magistris and Angela Wittelsberger. ‘By fostering collaboration between large pharmaceutical industries, academic teams, and biotechnology companies, IMI is supporting translational immunology and innovative approaches for the treatment of immune-based disorders and the development of safe and efficient vaccines,’ they write. ‘It is our hope that the community of European immunologists will provide major contributions to the new ecosystem that is needed to reach the ultimate objective of IMI, namely to align the interests of industry and society for the benefit of patients.’
News from the projects
- IMI and C-Path tuberculosis projects sign Memorandum of Understanding
IMI’s PreDiCT-TB and C-Path’s CPTR projects have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to coordinate their work in developing new and effective treatment regimens for tuberculosis (TB). TB is a leading cause of death worldwide, with nearly 9 million new cases and 1.4 million deaths reported every year. A major challenge for those tackling the disease is the length of TB treatment – even standard cases require at least six months of treatment with a multi-drug regimen, while drug-resistant strains of the disease can take two years to treat. Both PreDiCT-TB and CPTR are working to speed up the development of shorter, more patient-friendly treatment regimens. By working together, the teams will be able to combine their forces to take on the challenges in this area more effectively.
- Open PHACTS develops prototype app
The Open PHACTS project has developed a prototype of an iPhone app that provides rapid access to information on compounds of interest to drug developers. A video demonstration of the app on YouTube shows how simply typing the name of a drug into the app delivers information on its chemical structure, function, pharmacology, and latest news relating to it. The app is not yet available as it is still in the early stages of development. Meanwhile, the project team points out that ‘the aim is to show that the next generation of drug discovery APIs [application programming interfaces] make app development so much easier’.
- Transforming tranSMART: eTRIKS vision for knowledge management platform takes shape
IMI project eTRIKS is making progress towards its goal of turning the tranSMART knowledge management and analysis platform into an open system that can be readily adapted to diverse translational research needs. At a recent workshop, 40 people from 12 organisations reviewed the state of the art in the area and set out a roadmap for the development of the platform. Describing tranSMART as ‘a great opportunity for all stakeholders’, eTRIKS academic lead Yi-Ke Guo of Imperial College London said: ‘We are in the midst of a transition from a vender-owned, pharmaceutical company centric application to an open platform centred on the common needs of all translational research stakeholders.’ The key decision coming out of the meeting was the revision of the core of transMART into a set of pluggable components or ‘legos’. This will allow different projects and users to configure tranSMART to fit their needs.
- More information on the workshop can be found in an eTRIKS blog post.
- Sign up to receive the latest updates on the project by filling in the form to the right of the blog text.
- eTOX in the spotlight in special issue of Molecular Informatics
IMI’s drug toxicity project eTOX features in a special issue of the journal Molecular Informatics dedicated to advances in computational technology, a field where eTOX is making significant progress with its computer-based tools and models to predict drug toxicity. The challenges in the field are set out in a guest editorial by eTOX team member Thomas Steger-Hartmann of Bayer. The issue itself includes two contributions from eTOX. One article presents the eTOX public library, which is described as ‘a useful resource for affording the in silico toxicity prediction of novel drug candidates’. A second article discusses the challenge of screening potential drugs for unintended side effects.
- EUPATI event looks to the future of patient involvement in research
On 19 April 2013, IMI project EUPATI will hold a public conference in Rome, Italy on a vision for patient involvement in medicines research in 2020. The conference is structured around three key questions:
- What would patient involvement in medicines development look like in 2020?
- How can we build knowledge & competences for patients' involvement in medicines R&D?
- By 2020, what increase can EUPATI predict in public knowledge about development of new treatments?
Participation in the conference is free but places are limited; to apply for a place, fill in the online form.
- EHR4CR video
IMI’s EHR4CR project has produced a video explaining how the project works. The goal of EHR4CR is to build, validate and deploy a Europe-wide innovative technological platform to re-use data from electronic health records (EHRs) for clinical research purposes while ensuring compliance with all applicable legislative, regulatory, ethical and privacy protection requirements and policies. The video can be downloaded from the homepage of the EHR4CR website.