New indicative Call topics announced
The following topics are under consideration for inclusion in Calls for proposals to be launched in 2016:
- A European distributed data network (DDN) project to facilitate intra-EU access to, and analysis of, real world data to improve health outcomes for EU patients (part of the IMI Big Data for Better Outcomes (BD4BO) programme)
- Addressing the clinical burden of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI): evaluation of the burden, current practices and set up of a European research platform (part of the IMI New Drugs for Bad Bugs (ND4BB) programme)
- Development of immune tolerance therapies for the treatment of rheumatic diseases
- Data quality in preclinical research and development
- Next generation of electronic translational safety – NEXGETS
- Development and validation of technology enabled, quantitative and sensitive measures of functional decline in people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease (RADAR-AD) (part of the Remote Assessment of Disease and Relapse (RADAR) programme)
- Identification and validation of non-invasive markers across the spectrum of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Joint influenza vaccine effectiveness surveillance (JIVES)
Draft topic texts can be downloaded from the Future Topics page of the website.
Find project partners
If you are interested in any applying for funding under the newly-announced topics, one of your first tasks will be to find or build an applicant consortium, and to do this, you will need to find partners. IMI’s partner search page includes advice on different routes for finding partners. The tips can be summarised as follows:
- Start early - putting together a consortium takes time
- Use your contacts – this is the most effective way of getting into a consortium
- Network at events
- Use online partner search tools
- Use social media like the IMI LinkedIn group
Our website also has a tip for applicants page with advice on how to submit a strong proposal.
A look back at the origins of IMI
The story of the birth of IMI is the subject of a new blog article written by long-serving IMI Governing Board member Carlo Incerti of Genzyme. As he explains, at the beginning of the 21st century, the pharmaceutical industry faced a number of challenges, including ‘massive gaps’ in our understanding of the causes of diseases, long drug development times, and duplication of effort, among other things. Through EFPIA, attempts were made to set up a collaborative framework of research, involving a few companies within the EU’s research framework programmes. ‘At the same time, the European Commission was itself arriving at the same conclusion on the value of intensifying industry participation in collaborative research initiatives,’ Carlo notes. The seeds were sown for the creation of a Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on innovative medicines, which Carlo describes as ‘a ground-breaking legislative platform’. ‘The road ahead was by no means smooth,’ Carlo remembers. ‘It took long time to discuss with all EU institutions the most delicate principles around this JTI.’ On EFPIA contributions, it was decided that these should be ‘in kind’, as this would push companies to engage actively in the projects. There was also agreement that the first projects should be in pre-competitive areas, as this would foster collaboration among scientists from different organisations. Carlo concludes: ‘These key principles continue to underpin the Innovative Medicines Initiative, which has kicked off more than 70 projects involving more than 7 000 researchers from public and private sectors.’
IMI lunch debate in European Parliament a success
Some 60 people gathered for a lively lunch debate in the European Parliament, Brussels on 24 February on how IMI contributes to efforts to accelerate access to affordable, innovative medicines.
The event, hosted by Françoise Grossetête MEP, featured a presentation of the first results from an expert-led study of the socio-economic impacts of IMI’s projects as well as the perspective of different stakeholders on IMI. More broadly, it provided an opportunity to discuss how a public-private partnership such as IMI offers value for money for European citizens by paving the way for faster, more affordable access to health and innovation. The participants included Members of the European Parliament, their assistants, policy-makers, opinion leaders, patient representatives and scientists, as well as representatives of IMI's founding members - the European Commission and EFPIA.
- The presentations are available on the event webpage.
News from the projects
WEB-RADR side effect reporting app goes Dutch
IMI’s WEB-RADR project has launched a Dutch version of its smartphone app that patients, carers and healthcare providers can use to report side effects of medicines. Like the UK version of the app, which was launched last year, the Dutch app allows users to quickly and easily report side effects and find out about reported side effects. In addition, users can set up alerts to receive the latest information on specific medicines. The app is available for iOS and Android phones. Information submitted via the Dutch app is collected by the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb. Lareb is responsible for collecting and analysing information on reported adverse drug reactions in the Netherlands. Collecting, registering and analysing information on side effects in this way provides those responsible for monitoring medicines safety with vital information that can be transformed into guidelines on medicines if needed. WEB-RADR is planning on releasing a Croatian version of the app later this year. The project is also developing a generic version of the app which will be available for adoption by countries who wish to use the technology to supplement existing reporting mechanisms.
European Lead Factory launches dengue screening programme
IMI’s European Lead Factory (ELF) project is running a screening programme on dengue fever for British biotech company Effecta Pharma. There are currently no treatments for dengue fever, which causes flu-like symptoms and can turn into the more serious, potentially fatal ‘severe dengue’. Effecta is using the European Lead Factory in its hunt for molecules that could be transformed into urgently-needed safe, effective dengue treatments. ‘We are excited we can continue our initial collaboration with the ELF and its European Screening Centre researchers in Oss, Oxford and Newhouse, which has yielded a screenable assay for one of the critical dengue virus proteins,’ said Effecta directors Helmuth van Es and Paul Edwards. ‘Having ELF as part of our concerted effort to generate preclinical candidates for dengue is welcome support for Effecta and the patients suffering from this disease.’ Dengue fever is caused by a virus and transmitted by certain mosquitoes. Cases are on the rise worldwide, as the disease-bearing mosquitoes spread through globalisation. Furthermore, one mosquito species capable of transmitting the virus is now spreading into cooler regions, including Europe. Moreover, as dengue is closely related to the Zika virus, the researchers are hopeful that the results of their dengue programme could prove useful in the fight against Zika.
Open PHACTS Foundation gains first academic member
The Open PHACTS Foundation, the organisation set up to continue the work of the Open PHACTS project, now has its first academic member in the form of the University of Vienna. The University of Vienna is the managing entity of the project, and the team brings to both the project and the Foundation a wealth of expertise and experience in linked pharmacological data. ‘I am very excited that the University of Vienna has become the first academic member of the Open PHACTs Foundation,’ said the Professor Gerhard Ecker of the University of Vienna. ‘This will allow us to participate in the further development of this unique data integration infrastructure and to become an integral part of its sustainability.’
Open PHACTS has delivered a platform that links up diverse and complementary drug discovery databases, allowing researchers to rapidly find and access relevant data. The Open PHACTS Foundation was set up to maintain and further develop the platform. The other members of the Foundation so far are the pharmaceutical companies GSK, Janssen and Lilly.
PROTECT project’s benefit risk assessment advice published
The PROTECT project’s overarching recommendations on the assessment and visualisation of the benefits and risks of medicines have been published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety. Evaluating the balance between the benefits and risks of drugs is challenging. The assessment methodologies and visual representation tools may facilitate benefit-risk assessments. The newly-published paper explains how the project’s recommendations are based on a number of case studies using real medicines. ‘Adopting formal, structured approaches to benefit–risk assessment was feasible in real-world problems and facilitated clear, transparent decision-making,’ the researchers write. ‘Prior to this work, no extensive practical application and appraisal of methodologies had been conducted using real-world case examples, leaving users with limited knowledge of their usefulness in the real world. The practical guidance provided here takes us one step closer to a harmonised approach to benefit–risk assessment from multiple perspectives.’
Details of the PROTECT project’s output can be found on the project’s website.
OncoTrack and ELIXIR team up on long-term data management
IMI cancer project OncoTrack and life sciences data infrastructure ELIXIR are exploring how they could collaborate to ensure the provision of data storage and discovery services for data generated by the project. OncoTrack brings together pharmaceutical companies, academics and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a quest to develop new approaches to identifying markers for colon cancer, something which will help to improve diagnosis and treatment of the disease and may ultimately contribute to increased chances of survival. As part of this effort, the project is generating large amounts of data. ELIXIR could help OncoTrack to store and manage this data safely and securely through its European Genome-Phenome Archive (EGA). OncoTrack and ELIXIR are also exploring options for the long term management of data in TranSMART, which OncoTRACK is already using for data analysis through IMI’s eTRIKS project. Niklas Blomberg, ELIXIR Director said: ‘We are delighted to collaborate with OncoTrack, a shining example of the potential that big data has for advancing medical knowledge. This collaboration could provide a model for how translational data can be made available for long term re-use by the biomedical research community.’
IMI project events
Health data event on 10 March - sign up now!
The inaugural conference of the European Institute for Innovation through Health Data (i~HD) will be held in Paris, France on 10 March 2016. i~HD is a non-profit institute that was born out of the IMI electronic health records project EHR4CR and other related projects. Its mission is to guide and catalyse the quality, interoperability and trustworthy uses of health data, for optimising health and knowledge discovery.
This inaugural conference will mark the launch of a novel European platform to support multi-centre clinical research. This operational platform, the result of EHR4CR, can connect securely to the data within multiple hospital electronic health record (EHR) systems and clinical data warehouses across Europe, to enable a trial sponsor to predict the number of eligible patients for a candidate clinical trial protocol, to assess its feasibility and to locate the most relevant hospital sites. Also on the agenda is IMI’s EMIF, Europe’s largest ‘big data’ project in health. The conference will also spotlight the challenges and state-of-the-art approaches to improving the quality and interoperability of clinical data. i~HD will play an important future role in the development and quality labelling of interoperability standards, bringing together clinical and research domain experts, with patients, to help ensure that future standards support patient care, learning health systems and clinical research.
To register, fill in this form.
Sign up for the GETREAL webinar on effectiveness research
Registration is now open for a webinar on ‘Effectiveness research: navigating real world solutions’ which will be held by IMI’s GetReal project on 23 March 2016 at 12:00-13:00 Central European Time (CET / Brussels time). The webinar will provide participants with the latest updates on key outputs from the GetReal project, which is exploring how best to tackle effectiveness research before marketing authorisation. To this end, the project has gathered valuable insights from stakeholders and decision-makers on the value of real-world evidence and the acceptability of approaches to gather that evidence to support marketing authorisation and subsequent health technology assessment (HTA). In addition, the webinar will introduce the framework that GETREAL is developing for use by all parties to help plan for assessing the relative effectiveness of new therapies. The webinar speakers come from the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and pharmaceutical company Takeda. Further GETREAL webinars are planned for the coming months.
Learn more about DDMoRe at the PAGE workshop
IMI’s DDMoRe project will hold a workshop in Lisbon, Portugal on 7 June 2016 as part of the 25th Populations Approach Group Europe (PAGE) meeting. The theme of the DDMoRe workshop is ‘Get inspired … get started … get into the world of DDMoRe’. As such, the one-day event will consist of presentations and hands-on sessions to familiarise participants with the different elements of the DDMoRe platform. The diverse products will be demonstrated live with real model examples, showing the different elements and intended workflows. The added value of the products to efficiently apply model-based approaches and knowledge exchange - supporting the concept Model Informed Drug Discovery and Development (MID3) - will be discussed in the closing session of the workshop. Information from a wide array of sources can be integrated into models to describe and predict the behaviour of complex disease/biological systems and drug actions. The goal of the DDMoRe platform is to improve the quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness of model-informed decision making in drug development and therapeutic use of marketed drugs.
CHEM21 workshop on green chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry
IMI’s CHEM21 project will hold a workshop entitled ‘Practical aspects of green chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry’ in London, UK on 13-15 June 2016. This highly interactive workshop will be delivered by CHEM21 academics and industry experts in the field. It will involve group work, problem solving exercises and seminars to explore a broad range of cutting-edge case studies and industrial examples on greening the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The workshop is free and is open to students, academics and industrialists. Places are limited and will be allocated on case by case basis – details of how to apply to take part can be found on the CHEM21 website The goal of the CHEM21 project is to generate methods to make the drug development process more environmentally friendly.
EUPATI conference 2016 - save the date!
IMI patient education project EUPATI will hold a conference entitled ‘EUPATI: All aboard to a better health future!’ on 14 December 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. More information will be published soon on the project website. To stay up to date with EUPATI’s activities: