- IMI2 – Call 13 launched
- Sign up for the IMI2 – Call 13 webinars
- Calling all SMEs – find out about the opportunities offered by IMI2 – Call 13
- IMI open Call on Ebola – final deadline approaching
- IMI projects delivering quality and quantity on publications
- Safety project eTOX showcases legacy
- Could molecular vacuum cleaner be key to antibiotic effectiveness?
- Mutabilis joins antimicrobial resistance project ENABLE
- GetReal issues recommendations on real world evidence in drug development
- EH4CR outcomes could reduce the time needed to set up and run clinical trials
IMI2 – Call 13 launched
IMI has launched a new Call for proposals covering diabetes, antimicrobial resistance, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and medicines safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding, to name just a few. The total budget of the Call is EUR 223 million, around half of which comes from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, and half of which comes from EFPIA companies and IMI Associated Partners. All topic texts, Call documentation and details of how to apply can be found on the IMI website – www.imi.europa.eu – which also includes pages with advice for applicants and guidance on how to find project partners.
IMI Calls for proposals represent an excellent opportunity for researchers to take part in ground-breaking collaborative projects that aim to deliver tangible benefits for patients. Scientists from academia, industry, SMEs, mid-sized companies, hospitals and patients’ organisations are encouraged to get involved in our projects. Our success stories page offers a glimpse of the kinds of things IMI projects can achieve, and includes testimonials from project participants.
Deadline for submitting short proposals: 28 February 2018
Questions? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up for the IMI2 – Call 13 webinars
Registration is open for the webinars on IMI2 – Call 13, which will run until 15 December. As usual, we will have webinars on all Call topics plus IMI’s rules and procedures. In addition, this time we will have a dedicated webinar for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to highlight the opportunities for them in this Call and provide them with information that may be particularly relevant for them. Registration is free but obligatory via the links on the webinar web page.
The schedule is as follows:
- 7/12, 15:00: IMI rules & procedures
- 7/12, 10:00: Opportunities for SMEs in IMI2 – Call 13
- 27/11, 15:00: Support and coordination action for the projects of the neurodegeneration area of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (presentation now online)
- 1/12, 10:30: Human tumour microenvironment immunoprofiling
- 4/12, 10:30: Mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegeneration
- 4/12, 15:00: Translational safety biomarker pipeline (TRANSBIOLINE): enabling development and implementation of novel safety biomarkers in clinical trials and diagnosis of disease
- 6/12, 10:30: Pilot programme on a clinical compound bank for repurposing (includes the following topics: cardiovascular diseases and diabetes; respiratory diseases; neurodegenerative diseases; rare/orphan diseases)
- 11/12, 10:30: A sustainable European induced pluripotent stem cell platform
- 11/12, 15:00: CONCEPTION – continuum of evidence from pregnancy exposures, reproductive toxicology and breastfeeding to improve outcomes now
- 12/12, 15:00: Improving the preclinical prediction of adverse effects of pharmaceuticals on the nervous system
- 14/12, 10:30: Linking digital assessment of mobility to clinical endpoints to drive regulatory acceptance and clinical practice
- 14/12, 15:00: Assessment of the uniqueness of diabetic cardiomyopathy relative to other forms of heart failure using unbiased pheno-mapping approaches
- 15/12, 10:30: The value of diagnostics to combat antimicrobial resistance by optimising antibiotic use
- 15/12, 15:00: Genome-environment interactions in inflammatory skin disease
Calling all SMEs – find out about the opportunities offered by IMI2 – Call 13
IMI encourages the participation of SMEs in applicant consortia as they can offer a complementary perspective to other organisations. There are many opportunities for SMEs in IMI2 – Call 13; these are outlined in this flyer, and will also be discussed during a special webinar for SMEs that will take place on Thursday 7 December.
Find out what life is like for SMEs in an IMI project via our testimonials.
IMI open Call on Ebola – final deadline approaching
IMI launched the open Call on Ebola and related diseases (IMI2 – Call 8) in December 2015 with a total budget from IMI of EUR 70 million. To date, two projects have received funding through the Call and a third is in the pipeline. The final deadline for submitting proposals is 15 March 2018, and there is still EUR 25 million in the pot. The scope of the Call is broad; consortia are invited to submit proposals covering diverse aspects of Ebola research, including the development of vaccines, diagnostic tests, and treatments. The resulting projects should be able to capture emerging scientific advances and turn them into healthcare interventions that will increase our readiness to react to future outbreaks of Ebola or related diseases.
Find out more
IMI projects delivering quality and quantity on publications
The sheer volume and high quality of publications coming out of IMI projects is highlighted in the latest analysis of IMI publications carried out by Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters).
IMI has been monitoring and analysing the papers coming out of its projects since 2012, and the number of publications is increasing year-on–year. In 2016 alone, IMI projects produced 796 publications, bringing the total number of publications produced by IMI projects to over 2 600. With the number of IMI projects on the rise, this trend is set to continue for the coming years.
The field-normalised citation impact for all IMI papers is 2.03 (compared to 1.14 for the EU and the baseline of 1 for the world). In addition, 25% of papers from IMI projects are ‘highly cited’, meaning they are in the top 10 % of papers by journal category and year of publication. These are similar to the result in previous years and show that IMI is maintaining a high standard even as its output increases.
The report highlights how IMI project research is collaborative across sectors, institutions and countries. More than half (62.8%) of IMI project papers were published by co-authors affiliated with more than one sector. More than three-quarters (80.7%) of IMI project papers involved collaboration between institutions. And more than half (57.1%) of all IMI project papers were internationally collaborative. The metrics for all types of collaboration have increased since the previous report.
Read the full report
Safety project eTOX showcases legacy
Scientists from IMI’s safety project eTOX have described their impressive legacy in a paper in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. The heart of the project was an immense, shared database based on information provided by EFPIA companies from their own preclinical drug toxicity studies. By the end of the project, the database had information from over 8 000 toxicity studies on almost 2 000 compounds, of which around a fifth are approved drugs. The team used the database to build 200 computer-based models that provide a probability of the likelihood that compounds will interact with molecular targets or be toxic to vital organs like the heart or liver. The tools, which were validated by project partners, display their results in way that makes them easy to visualise and interpret. eTOX partners are now using the database and tools in their daily work. As they are computer-based, the tools could also help to reduce the use of animals in research. In the paper, the researchers explain how they addressed the pharmaceutical companies’ concerns about sharing their data: ‘This required a combination of legal (consortium agreement), technical (database installed behind companies' firewalls and models implemented within self-contained virtual machines), organizational (the 'honest broker' concept), psychological (trust gained through collaboration), political (data-sharing pressure, such as the FAIR (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability) principles) and social (snowball effect) solutions.’ Today, the work begun under eTOX continues through other projects, including TransQST and eTRANSAFE.
- Read the Nature Reviews Drug Discovery paper
- Read a press release on the paper
- Find eTOX outputs via the new IMI project tools catalogue
Could molecular vacuum cleaner be key to antibiotic effectiveness?
Scientists from IMI’s Translocation project have uncovered the workings of a ‘molecular vacuum cleaner’ in the outer membrane of certain bacteria. The mechanism, described in a paper in Nature Microbiology, helps to keep the outside of the membrane free of clusters of molecules that could weaken it and the system could prove useful as a target for new antibiotics. Gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli are enclosed by two membranes which form a significant barrier for many antibiotics, limiting their effectiveness. The outer membrane is asymmentric; while the outside is coated in sugars that ward off many molecules that could be harmful to the bacteria, the inside is lined with phospholipids. Sometimes, phospholipids from the inside of the membrane accumulate on the outside. These clumps of phospholipids represent weak spots in the membrane, rendering it more vulnerable to toxic compounds like antibiotics. In this study, the scientists proposed a functional model of the ‘maintenance of lipid asymmetry’ (Mla) system, which removes phospholipids that have strayed into the outside of the membrane, sucking them back into the inside of the membrane where they belong. ‘Our three-dimensional structures and functional data show that MlaA forms a donut in the inner leaflet of the outer membrane. This binds phospholipids from the outer leaflet and removes these via the central channel, somewhat similar to a vacuum cleaner,’ explains Bert van den Berg of Newcastle University in the UK. ‘Our study illuminates a fundamental and important process in Gram-negative bacteria and is a starting point to determine whether the Mla system of Gram-negative pathogens could be targeted by drugs to decrease bacterial virulence, and to make various antibiotics more effective.’
Mutabilis joins antimicrobial resistance project ENABLE
Mutabilis, a French company specialised in developing novel treatments for resistant bacterial infections, has joined IMI antimicrobial resistance (AMR) project ENABLE. Mutabilis works on a family of antibiotics called dabocillins, which are effective against bacteria such as carbapenem resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) that are resistant to other antibiotics and are notoriously hard to treat. By joining ENABLE, Mutabilis gains not only funding from IMI, but access to the ENABLE project’s expertise and technical resources. ‘Securing this grant is a clear recognision of the quality of our innovative research,’ said Mutabilis Chairman Stéphane Huguet. ‘In accessing its platform of services and receiving the advice of specialists in the field, we have a fantastic opportunity to speed up the development of our compounds and secure the company’s future.’
ENABLE has an open Call for proposals for organisations to join the project and benefit from the platform it has created. More information on how to apply can be found on the project website.
- Read the Mutabilis press release
GetReal issues recommendations on real world evidence in drug development
Launched in October 2013, GetReal was set up to explore how how robust new methods of real-world evidence (RWE) collection and synthesis could be adopted earlier in pharmaceutical R&D and the healthcare decision making process. The project, which brought together experts from diverse backgrounds, has delivered a range of tools and resources to help in this, including tools on the use of RWE and pragmatic clinical trials, as well as an online course on RWE. Now, the project’s Policy Expert Group has set out seven key themes that it believes require further attention to advance the use of RWE and real world data (RWD) in drug development.
1. Integrity, quality, access and privacy protection of RWD sources
2. Guidance on RWE study design, evidence synthesis and interpretation in decision making
3. Standards for decision makers’ use of RWE in decision making
4. RWE training and education
5. Broader involvement of stakeholders, especially patients and healthcare professionals, in RWE generation and use of RWD
6. Emphasis on a joint (regulatory/HTA/payer) scientific advice process
7. Construction of a standing forum and linking with ongoing initiatives
EH4CR outcomes could reduce the time needed to set up and run clinical trials
Any new treatment, diagnostic test or medical intervention must go through clinical trials to demonstrate that it is safe and effective. Large-scale trials require hundreds or even thousands of patients that meet specific criteria. They must have the particular condition that is under investigation – but there may be other restrictions such as age or previous treatments. Finding a group that fit all these criteria can be time-consuming and expensive. To solve this problem, IMI’s EHR4CR project set out to find a way to allow researchers running clinical trials to search medical records in hospitals across Europe to discover the number of potentially suitable patients per hospital. Through collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and 11 hospitals in five countries, EHR4CR developed a way of assessing the number of potential trial patients from the hospitals’ electronic records while maintaining the privacy of sensitive personal data. “We knew it was possible on a one-to-one basis to get data from a single hospital to find out if they have any suitable patients,” says project coordinator Mats Sundgren from pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. “What we did was to research and develop a scalable solution for using electronic health records across many hospitals in Europe without jeopardising or violating data security.” Following the completion of EHR4CR, the platform has launched as a commercial service called InSite developed by specialist data company Custodix – one of the former project partners. This enables scientists to search electronic medical records for suitable patients within a growing network of European hospitals treating millions of people, without seeing any personal information about them. It is predicted that using the platform to speed up trial planning and recruitment could reduce the time taken to set up and run a clinical trial by three to six months.