IMI – delivering results on unmet medical needs
The biggest challenges in medicine cannot be tackled by any company, organisation or even country alone. The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) works by fostering collaborations between leading experts from industry, universities, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient groups, and regulators from across Europe. Around 60 projects are up and running so far, and these collaborations are delivering exciting results in areas such as Alzheimer’s, infectious disease, diabetes, schizophrenia, and rheumatoid arthritis – all areas where there is an urgent need for safe, effective treatments. More details of IMI project successes can be found in our brochure
A diverse research community
IMI has proven successful at attracting Europe’s leading researchers to its projects. The majority of funding recipients are academics, many of whom come from the best universities in Europe. SMEs also make up an important part of the IMI community, receiving 17% of funding. Finally, patient groups and regulators are also well represented. The interests of these diverse groups are protected by IMI’s IP policy, which has proven effective at protecting project partners’ interests while encouraging the sharing and exploitation of knowledge. The IP policy’s strength lies in its flexibility; this allows it to be readily adapted to the needs of each project. Thanks to the IP policy, project partners are sharing compounds, data and knowledge with one another in an unprecedented way, in an open innovation ecosystem.
IMI only provides funding for the universities, smaller companies, patient groups and regulators in its projects. Under IMI 2, the funding rates are aligned with those of Horizon 2020. The large pharmaceutical companies do not receive any IMI funding, but contribute to the projects with their own resources, such as their researchers’ time.
IMI governance – a true partnership
IMI is a partnership, created, funded and managed jointly and equally by the European Union and the pharmaceutical industry association EFPIA. IMI’s Governing Board is made up of equal numbers of representatives from the European Commission and EFPIA. Each Founding Member takes the chair, with a rotation every year. Further input on IMI’s activities comes from the Scientific Committee and States Representatives Group. In addition, IMI is scrutinised closely by other EU institutions including the European Parliament.
Scientific priorities and project selection
IMI’s current Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) was adopted in 2014 and focuses on delivering ‘the right prevention and treatment for the right patient at the right time’. It is closely aligned with the World Health Organization’s 2013 report on priority medicines for Europe and the world. IMI’s research agenda under the IMI 1 programme was adopted in 2008 following stakeholder consultations and updated in 2011 to take account of new developments in medicines research. All editions of the SRA are available via the Reference Documents page.
While most project ideas come from with EFPIA companies, other organisations can also put forward ideas. Ideas undergo consultation with the States Representatives Group and the Scientific Committee and are only launched as part of Calls for proposals following Governing Board approval.