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IMI launches €371 million call with focus on Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, and more



 - Call has total budget of €371 million, meaning IMI is on track to spend its entire €2 billion budget
 - Topics focus on Alzheimer’s disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, diseases transmitted by animals, antimicrobial resistance, drug discovery, and
environmental impact of medicines

BRUSSELS, 11 December 2013 – Today, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is launching its 11th Call for proposals with 8 topics designed to address a range of challenges in drug research and development. The Call has a total budget of €371 million, with €170 million coming from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and €201 million coming from in kind contributions by the large pharmaceutical companies taking part in the projects. With this Call, IMI is on track to make use of its entire €2 billion budget.

Michel Goldman, IMI Executive Director commented: ‘Through this new Call for proposals, IMI will pave the way for new, better treatments for conditions that have a massive impact on quality of life for so many people. In addition, by allocating the last of its funds to this Call, IMI has demonstrated that it is a successful research funding instrument and that there is still a need for innovative projects bringing together public and private partners.’

The topics are:

Osteoarthritis – 10% of men and 18% of women over 60 suffer from osteoarthritis, and a quarter of those affected struggle to carry out ordinary daily activities. This project will analyse new and existing data to pave the way for personalised treatments for this debilitating condition.

Alzheimer’s disease – Alzheimer’s will affect 100 million people globally by 2050, and there is an urgent need for treatments capable of preventing this disease epidemic and disease progression, ideally starting before the symptoms appear. This project aims to design and test new, more efficient clinical trial designs that will evaluate many potential drugs at the same time, while also reducing the proportion of patients in the placebo arm of the trial.

Cancer – Doctors need samples of cancer cells to determine what treatment is most appropriate and to monitor how well a treatment is working. Obtaining these cells usually requires a biopsy. This new project will develop new, less invasive ways of capturing cancer cells from blood samples and analysing them for clues to what treatment is needed and how well drugs are working.

Diseases transmitted by animals – In the past 20 years, there have been 25 documented cases where new diseases have moved from wild or domestic animals into human populations. In some cases, known diseases have moved into new areas – an example here is West Nile Virus. In other cases, completely new diseases have appeared, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). This project aims to improve our preparedness for new outbreaks by developing procedures and guidelines to allow the rapid development and manufacture of vaccines against new diseases.

New tools for drug discovery – In recent years, scientists have successfully sequenced countless genes and proteins involved in diseases. However, turning these sequences into viable drug discovery projects is challenging. This project will generate high-quality research tools that will be the starting points for the discovery of new medicines in disease areas such as osteoarthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Antimicrobial resistance (two topics) – Antimicrobial resistance kills 25 000 Europeans annually and costs the economy €1.5 billion. One of the projects will focus on developing novel drugs to treat healthcare-associated infections, such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. The other project will work on developing new treatments for respiratory infections in patients with cystic fibrosis and related conditions.

Environmental impacts of medicines –With increasingly-sensitive analytical methods, low levels of medicines can now be detected in the environment. Currently, the risks associated with this environmental exposure are unclear as we lack the tools and methods to assess their environmental impact. This new project will define new tools and propose a more systematic approach to evaluating the environmental risks posed by medicines that may be detected.


Notes to Editors

 - Deadline for submitting Expressions of Interest: 8 April 2014
 - The full Call text, as well as details of how to apply, can be found on the 11th Call - Stage 1 web page
 - IMI will hold webinars on all Call topics in January 2014. For the full schedule and to register, visit the webinar page

Press contact

Catherine Brett – External Relations Manager
Tel: +32 2 541 8214  -  Mobile: +32 484 896227  -  E-mail:

About IMI

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is the world’s largest public-private partnership in health. IMI is improving the environment for pharmaceutical innovation in Europe by engaging and supporting networks of industrial and academic experts in collaborative research projects. The European Union contributes €1 billion to the IMI research programme, and this is matched by in kind contributions worth at least another €1 billion from the member companies of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

The Innovative Medicines Initiative currently supports 42 projects, many of which are already producing impressive results. The projects are all working to address the biggest challenges in drug development, with the goal of accelerating the development of safer and more effective treatments for patients.

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