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Ebola, big data, childhood cancers and medicines safety feature in new IMI Calls


Ebola – The recent Ebola outbreak in western Africa infected over 28 000 people and killed over 11 000, starkly highlighting the urgent need for new vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests for this devastating disease. IMI and others responded to this emergency by rapidly launching Ebola research programmes. However, further efforts are needed to ensure the world is equipped to stop future outbreaks in their tracks. With this in mind, IMI is launching a €70 million open Call for proposals that invites consortia 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.

In parallel, IMI is launching a standard Call for proposals with seven topics, including two on big data.

Big data for better outcomes – In addition to a topic to coordinate and support the entire big data programme, the Call includes a topic that aims to improve clinical outcomes for people with heart disease through better access to, and use of data.

Childhood cancers – Today, 20% of childhood cancers remain incurable and survivors of childhood cancers often experience long-term side effects. This topic will deliver a platform of research tools to facilitate the identification of potential drugs for childhood cancers.

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases – The focus of this topic is on how protein tangles, which are hallmarks of both diseases, spread throughout the brain. The project results will therefore increase our chance of identifying new targets for drugs.

Chronic pain – Neuropathic pain affects 6-8% of the population and is extremely hard to treat. This topic focuses on improving our understanding of the underlying causes of neuropathic pain, something that will aid in the development of new treatments.

Eye diseases – There are currently no effective treatments for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and it is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. This topic aims to develop new and better measures of patients’ disease status that could be used when testing new drugs in clinical trials.

Medicines safety – This topic aims to advance the use of imaging in assessments of medicines safety. Among other things, this would improve medicines safety, add to our understanding of why medicines sometimes cause toxicity, and reduce the use of animals in research.

Pierre Meulien, IMI Executive Director commented: ‘These Calls for proposals demonstrate the added value of IMI. Excellent science exists in all of these research areas, but only by bringing together experts from industry, academia, small biotechs, patient groups, and others can we hope to translate world-class science into improved health for patients.’

The Ebola Call (IMI 2 - Call 8) has a total budget of €70 million from IMI that will be available from the first cut-off date of the two year open application period. The other Call (IMI 2 – Call 7) has a budget from IMI of €46.8 million; this will go to eligible universities, small companies, and patient organisations, etc. This will be matched by €46.8 million from the EFPIA companies in the projects; these companies do not receive any money from IMI but contribute largely ‘in kind’, e.g. by donating their researchers’ time, or access to equipment and resources.

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Notes to Editors

IMI 2 – Call 7

  • Topics on safety, Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s diseases, pain, eye diseases, childhood cancers, big data
  • Deadline for submitting proposals: 17 March 2016
  • Call documents and details of how to apply: IMI 2 – Call 7 page

IMI 2 – Call 8

  • Ebola and related diseases
  • This Call for proposals will remain open for two years with the following cut-off dates for the submission of proposals: 16 March 2016, 15 September 2016, 16 March 2017, 14 September 2017, 15 March 2018.
  • Call documents and details of how to apply: IMI2 – Call 8 page


IMI will hold webinars on all Call topics plus IMI’s rules and procedures in January 2016. For details and to register, visit: Webinars on IMI 2 Calls 7 and 8 page

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About the Innovative Medicines Initiative

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is working to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need. It does this by facilitating collaboration between the key players involved in healthcare research, including universities, the pharmaceutical and other industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient organisations, and medicines regulators.

IMI is a partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry, represented by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). Through the IMI 2 programme, IMI has a budget of €3.3 billion for the period 2014-2024. Half of this comes from the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. The other half comes from large companies, mostly from the pharmaceutical sector; these do not receive any EU funding, but contribute to the projects ‘in kind’, for example by donating their researchers’ time or providing access to research facilities or resources.