Success stories from projects


Biomarker tests to speed up cancer drug development

IMI's QuIC-ConCePT project research into validating more imaging biomarkers for use in cancer drug trials seeks to speed up development of successful new drugs and avoid exposing patients to treatment that does not work for them.
Project logo

Better understanding of colon cancer to help guide treatment

IMI's OncoTrack project researchers have worked to identify and characterise signs of cancer, particularly colon cancers, and patients' responses to different types of treatment. The aim is to help doctors choose the best possible treatment for an individual patient's condition, potentially improving and saving lives.

EBiSC project's stem cell biobank could lead to new drugs

Europe has identified the need for a central, standardised stem cell repository providing researchers with access to quality controlled cell lines and data for future drug development. EU and industry funding helped this new biobank facility establish initial operations and create a 'foundational collection'.
Stem cell research

Mofina project develops device for faster Ebola testing

IMI's Mofina project researchers have developed a portable device to test in the field whether a person has caught the deadly Ebola disease. It gives reliable results in 75 minutes, which can help contain outbreaks and save lives.
Ebola testing device

Pharma-Cog results may speed up Alzheimer’s drug development

IMI’s Pharma-Cog project had an ambitious goal: to improve the success rate of Alzheimer’s disease drugs in development. As the project draws to a close, we talked to scientific coordinator Régis Bordet of the University of Lille and EFPIA project coordinator Jill Richardson of GSK. According to them, Pharma-Cog made several important contributions to this field of research, including a better understanding of the disease, and may lead to more efficient and more precise clinical trials for future drug candidates.
Jill Richardson

RAPP-ID outputs could boost development of rapid diagnostic tests

The focus of RAPP-ID was the development of rapid diagnostic platforms for infectious diseases, and some of the technologies and resources developed within the project could help speed up the development of rapid diagnostic tests in the future. In an interview with the IMI Programme Office, project coordinator Jorge Villacian of Johnson & Johnson and scientific coordinator Herman Goossens of University of Antwerp, outline the challenges encountered and successes achieved.
Herman Goossens

BTCure project insights connect bone cells to rheumatoid arthritis

IMI's BTCure project has generated new insights into the causes and development of rheumatoid arthritis, directing efforts towards earlier detection, prevention and the idea of inducing tolerance to this chronic and debilitating disease. Follow-up research includes new studies to further explore this 'tolerance' challenge and progress on a new antibody detecting device.
Hands of an older person

ENABLE scientists discover a new way to target drug-resistant bacteria

Scientists from IMI’s ENABLE project have found a new mechanism to target drug-resistant bacteria, opening up a promising new pathway for further research. The mechanism involves DNA gyrase, a well-known enzyme that is a target of already existing antibiotics. ENABLE scientists found a new way to inhibit this enzyme and kill drug-resistant bacteria in the laboratory.

EPAD – revolutionising clinical trials for dementia

IMI’s EPAD project has an ambitious goal – to revolutionise the way we carry out clinical trials for treatments designed to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia. In an interview with the IMI Programme Office, project coordinators Craig Ritchie of the University of Edinburgh and Serge Van der Geyten of Janssen Pharmaceutica explain what the project has achieved so far and why the project team is like a family.
Neurons in the brain

VSV-EBOVAC identifies signature of promising Ebola vaccine

How exactly does our immune system respond to vaccination? In the first study of its kind, scientists from IMI’s VSV-EBOVAC project, studying a promising Ebola vaccine, set out to find out which immune cells get activated early on, which inflammatory markers are released after that, and how this early activity later impacts the production of antibodies against the Ebola virus. In the process, they discovered a unique signature of a promising Ebola vaccine candidate which could not only help predict adverse reactions and effectiveness of this vaccine, but also inform the development of vaccines for other diseases as well.

Of vaccines, rumours and the success of IMI’s EBODAC project

When IMI’s EBODAC project started in late 2014, Ebola had already killed over 8 000 people in just a few short months, most of them in the western African nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. With the outbreak continuing to devastate lives across the region, fear and anxiety were rife, and rumours spread rapidly through local communities. It was against this backdrop that IMI’s EBODAC project set out to develop a community engagement strategy to enable a clinical trial of a promising new Ebola vaccine candidate. Thanks to the many innovative methods employed, including radio and drama shows, today the project celebrates its first big success: all of the adults in the trial have been successfully vaccinated. But getting there was far from easy.
The first trial participant, Idrissa Kamara, receiving his prime vaccine in Sierra Leone

"More successful than what we thought possible" – an interview with the Europain project coordinator

In 2009, IMI’s Europain project set out on an ambitious path: to improve the treatment of patients with chronic pain. At the end of the project, we interviewed project coordinator Märta Segerdahl of H. Lundbeck A/S, and asked her what the project had managed to achieve. ‘We ended up more successful than we thought possible,’ she said.
Märta Segerdahl

CHEM21 method could dramatically cut production costs of essential anti-fungal medicine

Scientists from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project CHEM21 have developed a new, more efficient way of producing flucytosine, a medicine used to treat a common and often deadly fungal form of meningitis in people with HIV / AIDS. The new method, which is described in a paper in Organic Process Research & Development (OPR&D), is expected to decrease drastically costs of production, and so make the medicine more affordable for the many people with HIV / AIDS who live in low income countries. The CHEM21 team is now working to scale up the method to the industrial scale.
Drug manufacturing process

"It was a really fantastic experience" – an interview with the MARCAR project coordinator

Cancer risk assessment is one of the most important steps during the development of new medicines. Launched in 2010, IMI’s MARCAR project aimed to develop early biological clues – biomarkers – which could help predict which drugs might lead to tumour growth. At the end of the project, MARCAR project coordinator, Jonathan Moggs of Novartis, spoke to the IMI programme office about the main project achievements and explained how MARCAR project outputs will make drugs safer in the future.
Jonathan Moggs

"We took the lead over US-based projects" – an interview with SUMMIT project coordinators

Before SUMMIT started in 2009, ongoing research on diabetic complications in Europe was scattered amongst various countries. Fast forward six years, and Europe – by joining forces and activities - has climbed to the top of the research ladder in this field, coming close to or even surpassing similar research projects in the US. In an interview with the IMI project office, SUMMIT project coordinator Michael Mark of Boehringer-Ingelheim, and scientific coordinator Leif Groop of Lund University, explain how SUMMIT contributed to the diabetes complications field.
SUMMIT project logo

"There will be lots of benefits to patients" – an interview with the SAFE-T project coordinators

SAFE-T was among the first IMI projects which started in 2009. Seven years later, the project came to a close, having achieved most of its objectives and made significant progress in developing improved tools for the prediction, detection, and monitoring of drug-induced injuries to the kidney, liver, and vascular system. In an interview with the IMI Project Office, project coordinator Michael Merz of Novartis, and scientific coordinator Thomas Joos of the Natural and Medical Institute at the University of Tübingen (NMI), share their thoughts on the project’s successes.
Michael Merz


PROactive draws to a close, delivers on its promises – an interview with project coordinators

PROactive was launched in 2009 with the aim of developing an innovative tool to measure physical activity in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. The project has now drawn to a close, meeting its main goal. In interview with the IMI Programme Office, PROactive’s scientific coordinator, Thierry Troosters of the University of Leuven, and project coordinator, Mario Scuri of CHIESI Pharmaceuticals, explain how the new tool works and how it will benefit patients.
Thierry Troosters

"Without IMI this would have never happened" – an interview with U-BIOPRED’s Peter Sterk

U-BIOPRED was one of the first IMI projects to launch back in 2009. Now the project, which focused on severe asthma, is drawing to a close. In an interview with the IMI Programme Office, the project’s scientific coordinator, Peter Sterk of the University of Amsterdam, explains how the project has increased our understanding of severe asthma and how researchers are already using this knowledge in the development of new treatments. He also talks about how the project benefited from the involvement of patients, and how they put the concept of ‘big data’ into practice to achieve their groundbreaking results.
Peter Sterk