- Revised IMI Scientific Research Agenda released
- IMI 4th Call – initial statistics
- IMI forges links with the European Parliament
- IMI makes its mark in Krakow
- Major US report to Barack Obama mentions IMI
- New IMI project achievements booklet available now
- News from the projects
- IMI presentations at forthcoming conferences
Revised IMI Scientific Research Agenda released
IMI’s revised Scientific Research Agenda (SRA) is now available online. The revision, initiated by IMI’s Scientific Committee and written following an extensive consultation process, takes into account the latest advances in medical research and recent changes in the pharmaceutical industry. The updated SRA identifies new research priorities and has a greater focus on ‘think big’ projects that should change the landscape in which the pharmaceutical industry, academic institutions and healthcare operate; this new way of thinking is already reflected in the 4th Call topics on the European Medical Information Framework (EMIF) and stem cells.
IMI 4th Call – initial statistics
IMI received 86 Expressions of Interest (EoIs) in response to its 4th Call for Proposals. Some 20% of the applicants were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The in-house evaluation of the Expressions of Interest (Stage 1) will take place from Monday 21 November 2011 to Friday 25 November 2011. In line with the rules, IMI will organise hearings of the four best ranked Expressions of Interest following the remote evaluation.
IMI forges links with the European Parliament
For one week at the beginning of October, IMI and the other Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs) descended in a concerted effort on the European Parliament in Brussels to spread the word about their achievements among Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and other policy makers. The JTIs organised thematic sessions to present their work and also held an exhibition and a joint press conference. Over 60 people packed into IMI’s session on 6 October, where high-level stakeholders as well as participants in IMI projects demonstrated how IMI is helping to speed up the development of safer, more effective drugs. More broadly, the joint event demonstrated the success of the JTIs’ public-private partnership model in driving research and innovation in diverse sectors across Europe.
- Download the presentations and press release
IMI makes its mark in Krakow
IMI reached out to hundreds of central European biotechnology experts during the recent Congress of Polish Biotechnology and Central European Congress of Life Sciences (Eurobiotech), which ran from 12-15 October in Krakow, Poland. IMI started by holding a well-attended half-day conference entitled ‘IMI – New opportunities for drug research in Europe’. Participants in the special IMI session learnt how IMI works and heard about the many benefits of project participation. The session also featured a spotlight on the benefits and opportunities offered by IMI to researchers in Poland and elsewhere. In addition, IMI had a stand at the Eurobiotech exhibition and IMI Scientific Manager Fatiha Sadallah gave a presentation during a conference session on personalised medicine in cancer.
The presentations are available on the IMI website
Major US report to Barack Obama mentions IMI
A major report by the US Council on Jobs and Competitiveness cites IMI in a section on the US’ role as a global leader in medical innovation. ‘[The US] medical innovation system is in jeopardy,’ write the authors, who were personally appointed by Barack Obama to come up with ideas to boost the economy. Pointing out that Europe, China and India are all working to attract medical research and development enterprises, they note: ‘For example, in 2007, the European Union and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations sought to attract life sciences companies to Europe by establishing a $2 billion Innovative Medicines Initiative. In 2010, while the amount of capital invested in private U.S. biotechnology companies declined 3.2%, Europe saw a 29% increase.’
New IMI project achievements booklet available now
IMI’s projects have already generated some significant results, and some of the highlights of these are gathered together in a new booklet produced by the IMI office. The booklet can be downloaded from the IMI website. If you would like paper copies for further distribution at meetings or conferences, simply contact the IMI office on Infodesk@imi.europa.eu.
News from the projects
- Clinical trials could be shorter, study suggests
The length of clinical trials in which patients on active treatment are compared to patients taking a placebo could be shortened by one or two weeks, according to research from the IMI project NEWMEDS. Speaking at the recent European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ENCP) congress, Professor Jonathan Rabinowitz of Israel’s Bar Ilan University explained how the team studied 29 trials of schizophrenia drugs sponsored by 5 pharmaceutical companies. The research revealed that in many trials lasting 6 weeks or longer, significant results can be observed in weeks 4 and 5, suggesting that such trials could be shortened. In addition, the researchers highlight the importance of including far more women in trials, as women appear to respond less to placebos than men, yet less than a third of the participants in the trials studied were female. The findings contribute to NEWMEDS’ goal of improving the design of clinical trials of schizophrenia treatments.
- eTOX SMEs speak out
Four small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working on IMI’s eTOX project have highlighted the importance of their contribution to the project in a letter published in Nature Biotechnology. In their letter, the four SMEs note that they all have a proven track record for scientific innovation and possess state of the art technologies that are considered ‘innovative and valuable’ to achieve the project’s goals.The companies state that they: ‘represent an expert ensemble of innovative biochemoinformatics companies and thus offer an optimal complement to the rest of the eTOX consortium that will ensure that novel approaches to predictive toxicology are developed and implemented in an efficient integrated system’. They also note that in their opinion, ‘EFPIA members’ access to SME’s [intellectual property] should not be considered an argument against, or limitation when, applying to an IMI project’.
- IMI projects launch continuous professional development initiative
IMI’s Education & Training projects have successfully launched an initiative to draw up a common framework for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in the pharmaceutical sector. The first LifeTrain workshop, held in early October in the UK, gathered representatives of professional and scientific bodies from across Europe to start work on the development of a common framework for CPD. Such a framework will help scientists working on all aspects of drug discovery and development to maintain their professional skills and knowledge and adapt to changes in the sector. The hope is that this will ultimately help to make Europe more competitive. ‘There was tremendous enthusiasm from all participants to combine forces for the good of research and development in Europe,’ commented AstraZeneca’s Mike Hardman, who chaired the LifeTrain workshop steering committee. ‘The workshop outputs exceeded our expectations and we are now working together on the next steps.’
- More information on LifeTrain can be found on the EMTRAIN website.
- All aboard the Pharmatrain!
Hibernia College Dublin in Ireland has been named as the first PharmaTrain Centre of Excellence. The college, 1 of 14 training providing partners in the IMI Education & Training project PharmaTrain, used the PharmaTrain Shared Standards to create a new online Master of Medicines Development programme. The announcement means that PharmaTrain is making great strides towards its goal of creating a pan-European, collaborative network for comprehensive post-graduate training. The modular courses devised by the partners allow students to mix and match to tailor their education to their own professional training needs. The project’s short and snappy ‘Career Driver’ newsletter provides regular updates on this successful project’s progress, along with lively quotes from both students and project partners. To sign up, visit the PharmaTrain website.
IMI presentations at forthcoming conferences
Below is an overview of some forthcoming events where staff from the IMI Executive Office will present IMI’s work and achievements.
- Critical Path to TB Drug Regimens (CPTR) workshop
Virginia, US, 9 November
IMI Principal Scientific Manager Elisabetta Vaudano will present IMI’s work in the area of tuberculosis.
Host website: http://www.c-path.org/CPTR.cfm
- Vaccines Europe
Brussels, Belgium, 30 November -1 December
Maria Teresa De Magistris, IMI Principal Scientific Manager will discuss vaccine safety in the context of IMI.
Event website: http://www.informaglobalevents.com/event/vaccines11
- Creating consensus science – New tools and tactics for next-gen drug development
Maryland, US, 1 December
IMI Executive Director Michel Goldman will contribute to a roundtable discussion on ‘global partnerships to spur development of medical products’.
Event website: http://www.c-path.org/Events/creating_consensus_science.cfm