Brussels, Belgium, 19 March 2015 – Today, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and its AETIONOMY, EMIF and EPAD projects are proud to announce the creation of the IMI Alzheimer’s Disease Research Platform. The platform will facilitate collaboration between the three projects, helping them to deliver results faster. At the same time, IMI and the Global Alzheimer’s Platform (GAP) are announcing their plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate Alzheimer’s drug development by building a global, standing, trial-ready platform for Alzheimer’s drug development.
The announcements come during a symposium held at the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases and Related Neurological Disorders (AD/PD 2015), and in the wake of a major World Health Organization (WHO) conference on dementia.
Dementia already affects over 35 million people globally, and as populations age, this figure is set to rise to over 115 million by 2050. The disease places a huge and growing burden on health and social care systems and on the families and carers of those affected. Yet despite decades of research, there is still neither treatment nor cure for the disease.
The challenge of developing new, effective treatments for dementia is simply too great for any organisation to tackle alone, and so IMI has launched a number of projects that bring together leading experts from the pharmaceutical industry, universities, small biotechs, and patient organisations from across Europe and beyond. The three projects in the new IMI Alzheimer’s Disease Research Platform have a combined budget of €138 million and address complementary areas of Alzheimer’s disease research.
AETIONOMY is paving the way towards a new approach to the classification of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, thereby improving drug development and increasing patients’ chances of receiving a treatment that works for them.
EMIF is developing a common information framework of patient-level data that will link up and facilitate access to diverse medical and research data sources, opening up new avenues of research, particularly in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease and obesity.
EPAD is pioneering a new, more flexible approach to clinical trials of innovative Alzheimer’s disease treatments designed for people who have the disease but have not yet developed dementia.
‘The European Union has a long tradition of fostering research collaboration,’ said Jean Georges, Executive Director of Alzheimer Europe, which is a partner in all three projects. ‘The creation of the IMI Alzheimer’s Disease Research Platform is another great example of European research projects working together to improve our understanding of dementia and to give hope to the 8.4 million Europeans affected by dementia of a cure of the condition in the future. Alzheimer Europe is delighted to support all three projects by representing the views of people with dementia and their carers in the research consortia and by making the research results available to the wider general public.’
The projects are keen to collaborate more closely with other Alzheimer’s research projects around the world. The global reach of the platform will be aided by the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between IMI and the Global Alzheimer’s Platform (GAP). In addition, international collaboration is already built into the IMI projects. For example, EPAD, EMIF and the Medical Research Council’s Dementias Platform UK are already linked and a number of EPAD partners are directly involved in other initiatives such as GAP.
Irene Norstedt, IMI Acting Executive Director commented: ‘Alzheimer’s disease is a global challenge that requires a global solution, and it is in this spirit that the IMI Alzheimer’s Disease Research Platform is reaching out to other initiatives on Alzheimer’s disease around the world. Everyone working on Alzheimer’s disease needs to pull together if we want to deliver results that will help us to end the suffering caused by this terrible disease.’
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Notes to Editors
The creation of the IMI Alzheimer’s Disease Research Platform will be announced during a special symposium at the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases and Related Neurological Disorders (AD/PD 2015) in Nice, France.
- Time and date of symposium: 9:15-11:15, Thursday 19 March 2015
- Venue: Athena Hall, Nice Acropolis, Nice, France
- Learn more about the symposium
The WHO Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 16-17 March 2015.
The IMI Alzheimer's Disease Research Platform also featured in a letter to the editor in the March issue of 'Alzheimer's & Dementia', one of the leading journals in the area of Alzheimer’s Research.
- Catherine Brett – External Relations Manager
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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.
- More info on IMI: www.imi.europa.eu
- Follow us on Twitter: @IMI_JU
About the IMI Alzheimer’s Disease Research Platform projects
AETIONOMY – Organising mechanistic knowledge about neurodegenerative diseases for the improvement of drug development and therapy
Today, diseases are defined largely on the basis of their symptoms, yet while two patients may share the same diagnosis, the underlying causes of their symptoms may be very different. This means that a treatment that works in one patient may prove ineffective in another. There is now broad recognition that a new approach to disease classification is needed, and that is where the AETIONOMY project comes in. It will pave the way towards a new, mechanism-based classification of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, thereby improving drug development and increasing patients’ chances of receiving a treatment that works for them.
- Project budget: €18 million
- Project website: www.aetionomy.eu
EMIF – European medical information framework
Recent years have seen an explosion in the number of databases containing medical and research data, yet because this data is scattered across diverse platforms, it cannot be fully exploited. The EMIF project is developing a common information framework of patient-level data that will link up and facilitate access to diverse medical and research data sources, opening up new avenues of research. To provide a focus for the development of the framework, the project is focusing initially on Alzheimer’s disease (particularly the need to identify mechanisms that make some people more susceptible to dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease), and obesity.
- Project budget: €56 million
- Project website: www.emif.eu
EPAD – European prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia
One important way of tackling dementia could lie in treating people while they are in the very earliest stages of the disease, when they may have little or nothing in the way of symptoms. The EPAD project is creating a pan-European platform to identify and follow up patients identified as being at risk of developing dementia symptoms. EPAD will then draw on the platform to test a number of novel treatments designed to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. By using a pioneering ‘adaptive’ clinical trial model, the project will be able to test multiple treatments at the same time, and analyse the results continuously. The adaptive trial model also allows a more rapid assessment of treatments and the identification of groups of patients that respond best to them.
- Project budget: €64 million
- Project website: www.ep-ad.org
- Twitter: @IMI_EPAD
GAP - Global Alzheimer’s Platform
The Global Alzheimer’s Platform (GAP) was initiated by the Global CEO Initiative (CEOi) on Alzheimer’s Disease and the New York Academy of Sciences. GAP’s objectives are to establish a global standing, trial-ready platform, to more rapidly test the effectiveness of drugs through an adaptive proof of concept trial mechanism. This platform will enable the delivery of efficient and effective proof of concept and confirmatory trials and ultimately the more rapid delivery of effective therapies to patients or those at risk.