- IMI releases new videos to mark 10th anniversary
- IMI2 – Call 17: draft topic texts published
- Catch up on the IMI Stakeholder Forum
- Scientific Symposium highlights work of young scientists in projects
- Prizes showcase best practice in project communications
- IMI welcomes new Scientific Committee members
- Collaboration key to advancing regulatory science
- Sign up for the i-HD conference on realising the value of health data
- DDMoRe project outputs are making drug development more transparent and credible – an interview with the project coordinators
- What once took months, now takes seconds – an interview with the Open PHACTS project coordinators
- ‘This has been a critical investment for European researchers’ – an interview with the PreDiCT-TB project coordinators
- ‘The PPP allowed us to do this in a very rapid time frame’ – an interview with WEB-RADR project coordinators
IMI releases new videos to mark 10th anniversary
IMI has released a series of videos featuring a range of stakeholders talking about their involvement in IMI. The videos, released as part of IMI’s 10th anniversary activities, highlight the impacts of IMI projects for the interviewees.
Two videos feature project participants from academia; Chantal Mathieu of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven coordinates the IMI diabetes project INNODIA; and Peter Sterk of the University of Amsterdam coordinated the IMI severe asthma project U-BIOPRED. Both highlight how IMI brings people from different groups together to advance research.
Industry is represented in the series by Bayer’s Matthias Gottwald, who has been involved in many IMI projects and describes IMI as ‘the most fascinating task I ever had in my work life’.
Patients and small and medium-sized enterprises are also key partners in IMI. On the patient front, Jean Georges of Alzheimer Europe points out that patients bring to projects ‘the lived experience of people with the condition’. Meanwhile Tamas Letoha of Pharmacoidea in Hungary encourages other SMEs to ‘network, network, network’ if they want to get into a project.
Finally, former IMI Governing Board Chair Rudolf Strohmeier and EFPIA Director General Nathalie Moll tell the story of IMI in a joint video.
IMI2 – Call 17: draft topic texts published
The following topics are under consideration for inclusion in the next IMI Call for proposals:
- Optimising future obesity treatment
- Open access chemogenomics library and chemical probes for the druggable genome
- Intelligent prediction and identification of environmental risks posed by human medicinal products
These topics are now at an advanced stage of development and we hope that these drafts will allow potential applicants to start working actively on proposals and forming consortia. Draft topic texts are subject to consultations involving IMI's States Representatives Group, Scientific Committee, and the European Commission. They must also be approved by the IMI Governing Board. Depending on the results of the consultations and approval process, the final topic text may differ significantly from the draft versions initially published here, and applicants should always base their proposals on the final, approved topic texts which will be published when the Call is officially launched. Furthermore, although it is unlikely at this stage, it is possible that a draft topic may be postponed to a future Call or dropped entirely.
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.
Catch up on the IMI Stakeholder Forum
Over 250 people attended IMI’s Stakeholder Forum on 24 October in Brussels, and contributed to wide-ranging discussions on cross-sector collaboration in health research. The event brought in speakers from diverse sectors, but key themes throughout the day were data and the involvement of patients in research. The presentations and pictures from the event are already available on the event web page; video recordings will be published in the coming days.
Scientific Symposium highlights work of young scientists in projects
Young scientists were in the spotlight at the IMI 10th Anniversary Scientific Symposium, held on 22-23 October 2018 in Brussels. The event featured 72 posters and 28 oral presentations; and the best were awarded prizes at the end of the event.
Programme Committee prizes - best presentation
- 1st prize: Stefan Holiga, F. Hoffmann-La Roche & Eva Loth, King's College London, EU-AIMS project | Presentation: The EU-AIMS Longitudinal European Autism Project: Examples of novel approaches to biomarker discovery
- 2nd prize: Tamàs Bereczky, EUPATI project | Presentation: Patient education is a prerequisite for meaningful patient engagement in the life cycle of medicines
- 3rd prize: Irene Balelli, INSERM, EBOVAC1 project | Presentation: Modelling the humoral immune response to Ebola vaccine
Programme Committee prizes - best poster
- 1st prize: Charlotte Delay, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, IMPRIND project | Poster: Comparative assessment of seed extraction methods relevant for the study of Alzheimer disease
- 2nd prize: Benjamin Gutjahr, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, ZAPI | Poster: Novel peptide vaccines against Rift valley fever virus
- 3rd prize: Chiara Whichello, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PREFER | Poster: Characterising and appraising patient preference exploration and elicitation methods
- Best presentation: Bart Hens, KU Leuven, ORBITO project | Presentation: Supersaturation as driving force for intestinal absorption resulting in an increased oral bioavaibility: case example with posaconazole
- Best poster: Jan Feifel, Ulm University, COMBACTE | Poster: Time-to-event case-control designs: An efficacious tool for cohort studies on nosocomial infections when resources are limited
All other presentations and posters, as well as photos of the event, can be found on the event web page.
Prizes showcase best practice in project communications
Communication is a vital element of all IMI projects, and with this in mind, IMI decided to run a competition for the best IMI project communication products. The winners were selected by a jury of staff from IMI, the European Commission and EFPIA. The prizes were handed out at the IMI Scientific Symposium.
- 1st prize: EBODAC and EBOVAC1 projects | A flipchart to facilitate discussions between potential participants and EBOVAC-Salone staff on a clinical trial for Ebola vaccines in Sierra Leone
- 2nd prize: INNODIA project | Sticker and activity book for young children taking part in a clinical study on type 1 diabetes
- 3rd prize: European Lead Factory project | A video explaining how the project works and how researchers can get involved
- Highly commended: ADAPT-SMART project | Infographic on Medicines Adaptive Pathways to Patients (MAPPs)
IMI welcomes new Scientific Committee members
As of 1 October, IMI welcomed five new members and one ad-hoc member of the IMI Scientific Committee. Their mandate will run until 30 September 2020. They are as follows:
- Merete Osler: Clinical Professor, Section of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
- Olivier Blin, Professor of Pharmacology at Aix-Marseille University, France
- Paula M Alves: CEO / iBET – Instituto Biologia Experimental e Tecnologica; Associate Professor & Principal Investigator/ ITQB & FCT - NOVA New University of Lisbon, Portugal
- Alfonso Valencia: Life Sciences Department Director / BSC – Barcelona Supercomputing Center; ICREA Research Professor, Spain
- Claas Röhl: President NF Kinder; President EUPATI Austria; President NF Patients United, Austria
- Eduard Montanya: Senior Professor of Medicine at the University of Barcelona; Head of the Diabetes Section of Bellvitge University Hospital, Spain
IMI thanks the five outgoing members whose mandate ended at the end of September 2018: Maria Beatriz Da Silva Lima, Andreas Bernkop-Schnurch, Markus Perola, Torsten Schwede and Annamaria Vezzani.
The IMI Scientific Committee gives strategic science-based recommendations to IMI and advises on the continued relevance of the Strategic Research Agenda and the scientific priorities. It is also formally consulted on our topic texts before our Calls for proposals are launched. The Scientific Committee members are top experts from a range of different fields and participate in their individual capacity.
For more information about the new members, including their CVs, visit the IMI Scientific Committee webpage.
Collaboration key to advancing regulatory science
Representatives of regulatory authorities on both sides of the Atlantic have highlighted the importance of collaboration for advancing regulatory science. The message is a key outcome of a regulatory science summit organised by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), in collaboration with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the end of 2017. The summary of the meeting report has now been made public as the organisers felt that the key points raised merit wider discussion in the scientific and regulatory communities. These address the value of collaboration, the evolution of science and its impact on regulatory science, the existing gaps to be addressed, and the need for tangible and impactful outputs. The core message from the meeting participants was on the added value of collaboration. ‘Collaboration is key,’ the report states. ‘The ability to succeed in step-changing medicines innovation is contingent on partnerships in vibrant ecosystems.’ The report also highlights the need for both intra-sector as well as inter-sector collaboration, and notes that this requires safe harbours such as IMI to facilitate collaboration, build trust and pilot new ideas.
Sign up for the i-HD conference on realising the value of health data
Registration is open for the annual conference of the European Institute for Innovation Through Health Data (i-HD) in Gothenburg, Sweden on 19-20 November. The theme this year is ‘Realising the value of health data, showcasing practical examples from research and healthcare’, and the conference will showcase how routinely collected health data (real world data - RWD) can be used to derive important knowledge insights, possibly uniquely from large scale data, and how these insights can and should impact on decision making and healthcare strategy. There will be sessions on:
- pragmatic clinical trials - their role, methods and tools, results and impacts;
- international observational health data networks – communities and projects;
- learning health systems – the global landscape;
- hospital-led and patient-led initiatives to use health data to improve outcomes;
- a debate on the acceptability conditions for real world evidence - to inform regulatory decision making.
DDMoRe project outputs are making drug development more transparent and credible – an interview with the project coordinators
In drug development, computer-based models are vital for understanding drug-related benefits and risks, but until now it has been difficult for researchers to pool their knowledge and develop these models collaboratively. To facilitate the sharing of models across sectors and organisations, the DDMoRe project developed common standards and the largest repository for clinical trial data models to date. In an interview with the IMI Programme Office, project coordinator Lutz Harnisch of Pfizer and academic coordinator Mats Karlsson of Uppsala University explain how the project outputs are already speeding up the drug development process while at the same time making it more collaborative and transparent. ‘It was a great undertaking, a great collaboration’, said Harnisch. ‘We had a chance to have so many interactions with so many people from a similar domain and greatly fruitful interactions with parties outside of pharmacologic modelling domain. That helped us understand what we want to do and how to better achieve it.’
- Read the full interview
What once took months, now takes seconds – an interview with the Open PHACTS project coordinators
The early drug discovery process requires the assembly, overlay and comparison of data from many sources, as well as the development of common standards and semantics. Until now, these data sources were very fragmented and it took researchers significant amounts of time and money to answer basic research questions. IMI’s Open PHACTS project addressed this gap by creating a platform that connects about a dozen different drug discovery databases, allowing researchers to rapidly find and access relevant data in different domains. Thanks to the Open PHACTS Foundation, which was set up during the project, the platform is free, open access and sustainable, and will continue to run beyond the lifetime of the project. In an interview with the IMI Programme Office, academic coordinator Gerhard Ecker of the University of Vienna and EFPIA representative Derek Marren of Eli Lilly, explain how the platform is already saving researchers significant amounts of time and money, thus speeding up the drug discovery process. ‘This is the first evidence of that technological approach to deliver anything of this magnitude,’ said Marren. ‘It wasn’t theoretical, it wasn’t on paper, it was real and usable. This is a significant achievement.’
- Read the full interview
‘This has been a critical investment for European researchers’ – an interview with the PreDiCT-TB project coordinators
Tuberculosis (TB) is still a huge global public health issue and the single biggest killer amongst infectious diseases, particularly in developing countries. The treatment usually involves a combination of antibiotics, which poses a problem for companies that are used to developing one drug a time. Additionally, the current laboratory models used to predict the potential of new drug candidates have not been reliable, leading to a high failure rate in clinical trials. PreDiCT-TB project scientists developed a series of tools, which drug developers can use to increase the probability of them choosing the right drug-like compounds and getting them through clinical trials successfully. With that, the project laid the foundations for faster and better development of new TB medicines for the benefit of patients. In an interview with the IMI Programme Office, EFPIA project coordinator Justin Green of GSK and academic coordinator Gerry Davies of the University of Liverpool, explain how PreDiCT-TB transformed the tuberculosis field and could speed up the development of new treatments for the benefit of patients. ‘[Our project] changed people’s attitude towards drug development in TB,’ said Davies. ‘Some of the techniques that we brought in are simply best practices in modern drug development and we have applied them to a field in which perhaps that’s been lacking for decades. We can certainly say that some of the tools that we developed – some of the statistical modelling tools and some of the technologies in the lab – have the potential to be transformative.’
- Read the full interview
‘The PPP allowed us to do this in a very rapid time frame’ – an interview with WEB-RADR project coordinators
Detecting the adverse effects of medicines – as well as their misuse – poses a big challenge for health authorities. Under-reporting is an issue, with individuals sometimes more likely to express their frustration via social media channels than consult their doctor. By bringing together industry and academic experts, regulators, patients and small and medium-sized enterprises, IMI’s WEB-RADR project developed a mobile application which allows patients to directly report potential medicine side effects and also receive reliable information on their drugs. The work done in this project is already helping medicine manufacturers and regulators to detect new safety signals and intervene earlier in case of adverse drug reactions, thus improving medicine monitoring and patient safety. In an interview with the IMI Programme Office, the project coordinators, David Lewis of Novartis and Phil Tregunno of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, explain how the project outputs are already helping in the earlier detection of drug safety issues for the benefit of patients. ‘It was the engagement of a consortium, the public-private partnership open dialogue, and the IMI funding structure that allowed us to do this in a very rapid time frame,’ said Lewis.
- Read the full interview