- Sign up for the webinars on IMI2 – Calls 15 and 16
- Meet IMI at ESOF
- IMI celebrates 10 years of medical innovations at major event in Brussels
- Nature Reviews Drug Discovery paper highlights IMI vaccine projects
- IMI looks back on a successful BIO
- IMI discusses big data and health at European Parliament
- IMI and data protection
- RADAR-CNS co-leader receives prestigious award in UK Honours
- European Lead Factory public collection hits 200 000 mark
- A faster way to spot the tell-tale signs of cancer-causing drugs
- Developing liquid biopsy tests to diagnose cancer
- Mobile technology solutions to monitoring medicines
- Contribute to the PARADIGM survey on patient engagement
- COMBACTE-NET’s SAATELLITE antimicrobial study completes enrolment
Sign up for the webinars on IMI2 – Calls 15 and 16
IMI will shortly launch IMI2 – Calls 15 and 16, and updated versions of all topic texts have been published on the IMI Future Topics page. Registration is open for the webinars on the Calls, which will run from 4 to 23 July inclusive. We are holding webinars on all Call topics, as well as a webinar on IMI’s rules and procedures and a dedicated webinar for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Registration for the webinars is free but obligatory. The following topics are under consideration for inclusion in the Call:
- Integrated research platforms enabling patient-centric drug development;
- Blockchain enabled healthcare;
- Microenvironment imposed signatures in tissue and liquid biopsies in immune mediated disease;
- Emerging translational safety technologies and tools for interrogating human immuno-biology;
- Development and validation of translational platforms in support of synaptopathy drug discovery;
- Digital endpoints in neurodegenerative and immune-mediated diseases (part of an IMI programme on digital transformation of clinical trial endpoints);
- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) accelerator programme (multiple topics).
The AMR Accelerator programme consists of three pillars; more information can be found in the draft texts on the Future Topics page:
- Pillar A: Capability building network (CBN)
- Pillar B: Tuberculosis drug development network (TBDDN)
- Pillar C: Company-specific portfolio building networks (PBNs)
All information regarding future IMI Call topics is indicative and subject to change. Final information about future IMI Calls will be communicated after approval by the IMI Governing Board.
Meet IMI at ESOF
IMI will take part in ESOF 2018 in Toulouse, France with a session on the (re)-use of health data on Wednesday 11 July. Data holds the power to revolutionise healthcare, but it also entails unprecedented technical and ethical challenges. The IMI ESOF session will explore the fundamental challenge of helping stakeholders to appreciate the importance of sharing data. For patients and healthcare users, this is a particularly sensitive and crucial issue: who actually owns their health data and what ethical standards are in place to protect patients’ privacy? The session follows the PlayDecide format, a role-playing game to tackle controversial issues in a simple and effective way.
ESOF (the EuroScience Open Forum) is the largest interdisciplinary science meeting in Europe. Held every 2 years, ESOF brings together over 4 000 researchers, educators, business actors, policy makers and journalists from all over the world to discuss breakthroughs in science.
IMI celebrates 10 years of medical innovations at major event in Brussels
Some 400 people joined IMI, the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) for a high-level celebration of IMI’s 10th anniversary in Brussels on 27 June 2018. The goal of the event was to highlight the successes of IMI projects, showcasing tangible results that are translated into concrete benefits for European citizens.
During the plenary session, speakers from diverse backgrounds highlighted the way IMI has brought together people from universities, the industry, small and medium-sized enterprises, patients, and regulators to tackle major research and healthcare challenges. Project representatives described how IMI had contributed to specific results in their fields.
In his speech, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas described the cultural shift this had brought about as one of the biggest achievements of IMI, and described IMI’s work as ‘radical collaboration’.
Meanwhile the exhibition gave attendees the opportunity to meet IMI project participants and see first hand IMI project results in areas such as cancer, antimicrobial resistance, Alzheimer’s disease, digital health, Ebola, and more.
Presentations and photos from the event will be published on the event web page shortly.
Nature Reviews Drug Discovery paper highlights IMI vaccine projects
IMI’s vaccine project portfolio is the focus of a recent article in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. The authors note: ‘By building a critical mass of research efforts by private and public stakeholders, IMI consortia have facilitated the translation of basic immunology insights into vaccine development efforts […] while enabling the burden and risks to be shared.’ Among other things, they note that BIOVACSAFE and VSV-EBOVAC identified patterns or signatures of immunity against flu and Ebola respectively. Elsewhere, the ADVANCE project has delivered white papers to facilitate the conduct of collaborative vaccine benefit-risk monitoring studies, they add. In conclusion, the authors note that IMI consortia have created ‘a considerable level of engagement and trust’ among project participants, and IMI’s knowledge dissemination policy has ‘allowed for unprecedented levels of sharing of data and expertise’. Looking to the future, they highlight the need to attract more Associated Partners, non-EU partners, and small and medium-sized enterprises to the programme.
IMI looks back on a successful BIO
IMI enjoyed good visibility at the recent BIO convention in Boston, US. A highlight was a session, organised by IMI, on public-private partnerships and open science, featuring speakers from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and Sanofi Genzyme. In addition, IMI Executive Director Pierre Meulien was a speaker in a session on antimicrobial resistance and vaccines; he also contributed an article on this subject to BIO Buzz, the show magazine. Finally, IMI was represented at the European Commission’s stand in the exhibition. Presentations from IMI’s session plus IMI’s exhibition material can be downloaded from the IMI at BIO web page.
IMI discusses big data and health at European Parliament
On 19 June 2018, IMI held a breakfast debate at the European Parliament in Brussels on big data and IMI’s HARMONY project. The event, kindly hosted by Soledad Cabezón Ruiz MEP, featured a discussion with health and big data experts, policymakers, and researchers. Through the example of the IMI project – which aims to improve the care of patients with haematologic cancer – the debate touched upon challenges and opportunities of using big data and eHealth services in healthcare systems. The presentations are available on the event web page.
IMI and data protection
At IMI we have always treated your personal data with the respect it deserves, following EC Regulation 45/2001. Although the new General Data Protection Regulation doesn’t apply to us, we nevertheless want to follow its principles. For that reason, we would like to ask for your explicit agreement to remain on our newsletter mailing list. In July, we will send you an e-mail inviting you to confirm that you would like to continue receiving the IMI newsletter. If you don’t respond to the e-mail, we will remove your contact details from the newsletter mailing list.
RADAR-CNS co-leader receives prestigious award in UK Honours
Professor Matthew Hotopf, co-lead of IMI’s RADAR-CNS project, has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to psychiatric research in the Queen’s birthday honours list. The Queen’s honours recognise the achievements and service of a wide range of people. ‘I am deeply honoured to receive this award,’ said Professor Hotopf, who is Vice Dean of Research at Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London and Director of the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre. ‘It represents the contributions of a huge number of people in my research team working to improve the profile of mental health research and ultimately to benefit people with mental health problems.’ Professor Hotopf's research explores the interaction between mental and physical health. He has worked extensively in areas where mental health relates to other walks of life – including military health, mental health law, and epidemiological studies on the impact of mental disorders. The RADAR-CNS project aims to develop new ways of monitoring major depressive disorder, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis using wearable devices and smartphone technology.
- Watch the new RADAR-CNS video
European Lead Factory public collection hits 200 000 mark
The European Lead Factory has hit another milestone with the announcement that the public part of its compound library now contains 200 000 novel compounds. When the project launched, the pharmaceutical companies immediately contributed over 300 000 compounds to the project, allowing it to start its activities early on. Meanwhile, the project got to work crowdsourcing library design ideas for the public part of the library from scientists in academia and industry alike. All ideas were screened by experts and the most promising were turned into physical compounds by the project’s team of chemists. ‘It was a huge challenge to collate and translate those innovative library ideas into physical compounds,’ said Dimitrios Tzalis, Head of Chemistry at the European Lead Factory and CEO of Taros Chemicals. ‘We all hope to have served and to further serve the wider European scientific community on their drug discovery research programmes to ultimately benefit the many patients in need worldwide.’ The project’s compound collection and state-of-the-art screening centre have allowed researchers across Europe to successfully start drug discovery projects in a range of disease areas.
A faster way to spot the tell-tale signs of cancer-causing drugs
Drug discovery and development is a costly process that can last more than 10 years. The possibility of failure can be high – and expensive. Testing if a potential drug is carcinogenic often comes near the end of the drug development process. If the drug is then shown to cause tumours, drug companies need to spend a lot of time, money and effort in additional testing. This process can slow down the speed at which effective, safe drugs can be approved for the market.
IMI’s MARCAR project found special features of genes – known as epigenetic biomarkers – that changed if exposed to a cancer-causing drug. These novel molecular tags allow a carcinogenic drug to be potentially identified much earlier in the required testing process than was possible before. 'This will be particularly useful in developing medicines used for long-term therapy of patients,' says project coordinator Jonathan Moggs of Novartis Pharma in Switzerland. 'By discovering the epigenetic mechanisms by which the cells in animals react to drugs, we are paving the way to how future drug safety assessment could be made at the molecular level.' The project also developed a non-invasive tumour imaging technique that has the potential to significantly reduce the number of animals used in the early stages of drug development.
- Read the full story
Developing liquid biopsy tests to diagnose cancer
Liquid biopsies can help to diagnose cancer in its early stages, and assist clinicians in monitoring the impact of treatment at any point. While offering great potential, a lack of standardised assays – or tests – have hampered research and slowed clinical adoption. The CANCER-ID project brought together 38 partners from 13 European countries, as well as groups from the US and a company in Singapore, to develop and validate standardised operating procedures for liquid biopsies.
'Liquid biopsies pose a very difficult analytical challenge because we are looking for very rare events,' says CANCER-ID academic coordinator Klaus Pantel of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. Tumour cells can be difficult to detect in the human bloodstream, with sometimes less than one tumour cell to every million white blood cells. The CANCER-ID team focused on four specific work streams covering all aspects of liquid biopsy testing for cancer. Specifically, these included developing the criteria for evaluating circulating tumour cells; defining the methods for analysis of nucleic acids; developing clinic-ready protocols for liquid biopsy testing; and creating protocols for the management and storage of data. Together, they provide a comprehensive framework for using liquid biopsies. Informed by both public and private partners, the protocols are designed to provide best-practice guidelines and will be made freely available via open-source platforms, providing a standardised basis for research and, in the future, clinical practice.
- Read the full story
Mobile technology solutions to monitoring medicines
Detecting and preventing the adverse effects of available pharmaceutical drugs – as well as their misuse – is a challenge for health authorities. The vast majority of referrals come from healthcare professionals and under-reporting of the issue is a problem. Individuals are often more likely to go online to express frustration than consult their doctor.
To address this, IMI’s WEB-RADR project has developed an app that enables users of pharmaceutical products to directly report adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to relevant health authorities, find out about reported side effects and opt to receive alerts on specific medicines. The project team also found that gathering social media data on the misuse of medicines could be hugely valuable in understanding what preventive strategies should be taken. WEB-RADR policy recommendations on the collection and use of data – both through the app and social media mining – have been passed on to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for implementation into future guidance.
- Read the full story
Contribute to the PARADIGM survey on patient engagement
What are your thoughts on patient engagement in medicines development? IMI’s new PARADIGM project focuses on patient engagement within three distinct phases of the medicines lifecycle: research priority setting; design of clinical trials; and early discussions with regulators and health technology assessment (HTA) bodies. It has now launched a survey with the goal of understanding the needs and expectations of people who are involved in who are involved in this growing area.
Patient engagement in biomedical research is extremely important. Yet this engagement must be meaningful and that is one of the key goals of the PARADIGM project. By building on existing tools and filling knowledge gaps, awareness of these will be heightened among the broader patient, industry, and research communities. This will ultimately create a sustainable roadmap for patient engagement.
COMBACTE-NET’s SAATELLITE antimicrobial study completes enrolment
Scientists and clinicians have completed the enrolment of 767 people, 213 of whom have been randomised, into the SAATELLITE study of a novel antimicrobial drug, the COMBACTE-NET project has announced. The goal of SAATELLITE is to study the safety, characteristics and efficacy of suvratoxumab (MEDI4893) in patients at high risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia in an intensive care unit. Suvratoxumab is an antibody that targets a toxin produced by Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria which often causes hospital-associated infections and has been linked to resistance issues. In a statement, the project thanked the clinical sites involved in the study, noting: ‘SAATELLITE is the largest pre-emptive approach study to date, and would have been impossible without the hard work at the investigator sites.’
- Find out more about the COMBACTE projects in this video