Indicative IMI call topics released
IMI has released information on the indicative topics that are under consideration for launch in the first half of 2012:
- European lead factory: building a joint European compound library and screening centre
- Antibiotics research to tackle resistant bacteria
The topics were discussed at a preparatory workshop in Brussels on 16 November and will be refined further over the coming weeks. Brief information on the indicative topics can be found on the IMI website. Note that all information regarding the topics is indicative, pending approval by the IMI Governing Board.
IMI key link in major EU-wide drive against antimicrobial resistance
On 17 November, the eve of European Antibiotic Awareness Day, the European Commission issued a 12-point Action Plan setting out the steps needed to tackle the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Some 25 000 people die every year in the EU alone from infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, and the problem costs the EU over €1.5 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity. In the Action Plan, the Commission notes that ‘developing new, effective and safe antibiotics is more and more scientifically difficult and costly’. It goes on to call for the launch of an IMI programme to improve the efficiency of research into new antibiotics ‘through unprecedented open sharing of knowledge’.
EFPIA welcomed the Action Plan, saying: ‘This programme of collaborative research needs to facilitate the involvement of large and small pharmaceutical companies and the antimicrobial research community at large. This is very new ground for the industry and over the course of the next few months we will be finalising the details, but the shape we hope to create for the initiative is clear.’ The news was widely covered in the media, for example by Reuters and Nature.
Respiratory experts call for greater research investment
Much more should be invested in respiratory research, according to the recently-launched European Respiratory Roadmap. Writing in The Lancet, the authors of the Roadmap point out: ‘In most European countries, much less money is devoted to research on respiratory diseases than would be justified on the basis of the proportion of mortality attributable to those disorders.’ The experts also highlight the need for better collaboration between industry and academia. On a positive note, the Roadmap states: ‘Leading investigators in respiratory medicine are involved in a number of IMI research collaborations, and we hope these projects will pave the way for novel and productive academic–industrial partnerships.’ An initiative of the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the Roadmap focuses on four key areas where action is needed: prevention, clinical care, research, and education and training.
News from the projects
- RAPP-ID survey quizzes clinicians on diagnostic test needs
The IMI project RAPP-ID has launched a web-based survey to find out how clinicians currently manage certain infections and what they need for a diagnostic Point Of Care Test (POCT) to be useful in the clinic. POCTs refer to tests that are carried out where the patient is being cared for, such as a doctor’s office, as opposed to in a central laboratory. Today, doctors and patients often have to wait for days for the results of tests to identify what infection, if any, a patient has. RAPP-ID is working to develop POCTs that will provide information in less than two hours on the cause of infection and, in the case of bacterial infections, whether the bacteria are resistant to certain drugs. This will allow doctors to administer the right medicines sooner. The survey will help the project partners focus the development of POCT platforms and ensure that they are clinically relevant and meet clinicians’ needs. All clinicians are welcome to complete the survey; the deadline for submitting responses is the end of this year. The results will be released early next year.
- Stakeholders in favour of using electronic health records for clinical research, EHR4CR project survey shows
An overwhelming majority (95%) of stakeholders are in favour of using electronic health records (EHR) in clinical research, according to the results of a recent survey run by IMI project EHR4CR (‘Electronic health records for clinical research’). The goal of the project is to come up with a platform and business model to enable the re-use of data from EHRs for clinical research in Europe. The EHR4CR team set up the survey to identify opportunities and challenges in this area. The survey gathered around 200 responses from researchers in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, EHR system providers, patients’ organisations and others. Most highlighted complying with legislative, regulatory, ethical and privacy requirements as a top priority for the successful use of EHR services for clinical research. ‘The results of this survey confirm a high interest in re-using EHR data for clinical research with the objective to optimise drug development efficiency and access to innovative medicines in Europe,’ the project team states. ‘This survey provides valuable information towards achieving the development and implementation of EHR4CR services and of a sustainable and scalable business model.’ The team’s findings will be published in a forthcoming issue of iHealth Connections.
- SUMMIT project welcomes new partners
EFPIA member companies Sanofi-Aventis and Pfizer have joined IMI project SUMMIT, which is investigating new ways of identifying the diabetes patients at greatest risk of developing complications such as heart disease and stroke, and damage to the blood vessels, kidneys and eyes. The development of novel biomarkers (biological markers) and imaging technologies will help to better predict and monitor the progression of such complications and assess the efficacy of treatments. This will help to shorten clinical trials of novel medications. Among other things, Sanofi-Aventis will contribute to SUMMIT’s efforts to develop tools to identify patients at risk of kidney problems and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). For example, it will develop an imaging probe to assess levels of calcification within atherosclerotic plaques in an experimental model of arterial stiffness. Pfizer will also contribute to SUMMIT’s work into the genes and proteins behind kidney disease in diabetics; their involvement will allow the partners to expand work that will help identify the patients who are more likely to develop kidney problems and progress rapidly through the stages of kidney disease.
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.
- 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
- FT Global Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Conference 2011
London, UK, 5 December
IMI Executive Director Michel Goldman will speak during a session entitled 'R&D: New Business and Financing Models for Innovation'.
Event website: http://www.ftconferences.com/pharmabio/
- Transparency Meeting
London, UK, 20 December
IMI Executive Director Michel Goldman will take part in a round table discussion on transparency and citizens’ access to data in the medical area and how that data could be turned into meaningful information.