- Why we need public-private partnerships in drug R&D – IMI’s Pierre Meulien in Pharma Boardroom
- IMI Stakeholder Forum – registration opening soon
- Health aspects feature in new ECSEL Call for proposals
- Join the DRIVE project’s influenza vaccine studies
- IMI was a catalyst for a process that would have taken much longer otherwise – the ADAPT-SMART project coordinators
- ‘IMI really was transformative’ – an interview with the COMPACT project coordinators
- RTCure: A novel, preventive approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis
Why we need public-private partnerships in drug R&D – IMI’s Pierre Meulien in Pharma Boardroom
The value of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in drug research and development is highlighted in a new article in Pharma Boardroom by IMI Executive Director Pierre Meulien. ‘Our collective ability to translate new scientific discoveries into impacts for patients remains compromised and our health systems struggle to bring innovations on board in an affordable way,’ he writes. Taking medicine safety, Alzheimer’s disease and antimicrobial resistance as examples, he explains how PPPs allow organisations to share risks, accelerate the drug development pathway and generally work in areas where there is both an important unmet medical need and where progress in these areas would have significant value for society. He concludes: ‘These challenges illustrate the need for PPPs. No single industry, country, or academic institution can tackle them alone with any chance of making an impact, but by working collectively, in an aligned manner, real progress is possible.’
IMI Stakeholder Forum – registration opening soon
Registration will open soon for the IMI Stakeholder Forum 2019, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday 12 June. The theme this year is ‘Brain health and diseases in the digital era - 2020 & beyond’. The keynote speech will be given by Luca Pani, professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami in the US. Most of the rest of the day will focus on two key issues: healthy lifestyles, prevention and diagnosis; and treatment and care. Both topics will be discussed by panels featuring experts from the pharmaceutical and other industries, universities, regulatory authorities and patient groups.
Health aspects feature in new ECSEL Call for proposals
There is a new Call for proposals launched by ECSEL, IMI’s ‘sister’ joint undertaking which works on electronic components and systems. The Call features research and innovation actions (RIAs) and innovation actions (IAs) addressing the following health and well-being topics:
- moving healthcare from hospitals into our homes and daily life requiring preventive and patient centric care;
- restructuring healthcare delivery systems, from supply-driven to patient-oriented;
- engaging individuals more actively in their own health and well-being;
- ensuring affordable healthcare for the growing amount of chronic, lifestyle related diseases and an ageing population;
- developing platforms for wearables/implants, data analytics, artificial intelligence for precision medicine and personalised healthcare and well-being.
The deadline for project outlines for the RIA and IA Calls is 7 May 2019. In addition, the Call has a coordination and support action (CSA) in the area of health; here the deadline for full proposals is 27 March 2019.
IMI and ECSEL have been exploring opportunities for collaboration for some time; health is a priority area for ECSEL, while IMI is increasingly moving into the digital health area, so there are clear grounds for exploiting synergies between the two organisations.
- For more information on the Call, and details of how to apply, visit the ECSEL website.
Join the DRIVE project’s influenza vaccine studies
The DRIVE project has launched a new call for tenders inviting study sites capable of researching influenza vaccine effectiveness to join its network. The purpose of the call is to support the sharing of existing influenza vaccine effectiveness (IVE) data and to establish new IVE studies including novel and innovative approaches. The call is open to any European organisation, institution or network and closes on 15 April 2019. Successful applicants will be compensated by the project for data sharing and contribution to the analysis, and for their participation in project meetings. According to the project, benefits to the joining the project in this way include:
- generating robust brand specific IVE through a European network;
- implementing potentially innovative approaches for IVE estimation;
- participation in the scientific discussion and publications process;
- receiving funding for data sharing and capacity building;
- participation in the DRIVE Annual Forum and General Assembly.
More information on the tender and details of how to apply can be found on the DRIVE website.
IMI was a catalyst for a process that would have taken much longer otherwise – the ADAPT-SMART project coordinators
Today’s paradigms of bringing innovation to patients are challenged by new developments, such as a growing patient demand for timely access to promising therapies, and increased fragmentation of patient populations due to better disease stratification. To address these challenges, major adaptations to current paradigms are needed while still staying in the EU legal framework. The ADAPT-SMART project set out to address that gap. The project created a multi-stakeholder platform where the conditions and feasibility of medicines adaptive pathway to patients (MAPPs) implementation within the EU/legal context could be discussed. In an interview with the IMI Programme office, project leader Hans-Georg Eichler of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), project coordinator Andre Broekmans of Lygature and deputy project leader Solange Rohou of AstraZeneca explained how the project created a change in the mindsets of players in the healthcare ecosystem, and how this will affect drug development in the future. ‘The IMI project and the nature of this multi-stakeholder collaboration was a key catalyst to accelerate a process that would otherwise have taken much, much longer to happen,’ said Eichler.
‘IMI really was transformative’ – an interview with the COMPACT project coordinators
Many new medicines are based on biological molecules such as proteins, peptides or nucleic acids. The goal of the COMPACT project was to shed new light on the obstacles these drugs (which are known as biopharmaceuticals) need to overcome to get to where they are needed in the body. As a result, the project has delivered drug delivery prototypes which may lead to the next generation of biologics-based medicines. The project also generated a spin-out company and two patents, demonstrating concrete socio-economic benefits. In an interview with the IMI Programme Office, project coordinator Ekkehard Leberer of Sanofi and academic coordinator Enrico Mastrobattista of the Utrecht University explain how the project transformed the biologics field, and why this wouldn’t have been possible without IMI. ‘I cannot imagine that this could have been done within one company or one institute,’ said Leberer. ‘To bring together all this industry experience, academic experience, nanomedicine, and imaging experience, that’s where IMI really was transformative.’
RTCure: A novel, preventive approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis
IMI’s RTCure project aims to find ways to prevent and cure rheumatoid arthritis by tackling the autoimmune disease in the very early stages, before debilitating symptoms occur. In an interview with the European Commission’s Research and Innovation Information Centre, scientific coordinator Martina Johannesson at the Karolinska Institutet explains the project’s approach. ‘Studies of events that precede the development of joint inflammation demonstrate that different molecular mechanisms may be involved in these early phases of the disease. In RTCure, we want to identify and treat the disease as early as possible, before any damage occurs,’ she says. ‘We aim to accomplish this by inhibiting autoimmune responses through treatments that generate immunological tolerance, preventing the immune system from acting against the body’s own cells.’ By studying diverse patients and biomarkers, RTCURE will lay the groundwork for the development and use of different medications based on specific individual disease indicators, enabling targeted and personalised therapy with potential applications in the treatment of other autoimmune diseases in addition to rheumatoid arthritis. ‘The potential impact of RTCURE on the prevention and therapy of rheumatoid arthritis is significant,’ Johannesson says. ‘This treatment approach would prevent many people from developing autoimmune diseases in the first place and enable more effective therapies for current patients, reducing healthcare costs, lost work days and improving quality of life.’