Immune safety avatar: nonclinical mimicking of the immune system effects of immunomodulatory therapies
imSAVAR logo


Start Date
End Date
IMI2 - Call 15
Grant agreement number

Type of Action: 
RIA (Research and Innovation Action)

IMI Funding
10 999 316
EFPIA in kind
10 646 496
Associated Partners
105 000
Total Cost
21 750 812


Certain treatments for cancers and autoimmune diseases work by altering the immune system. However, a major challenge for researchers is identifying potential efficacy and safety issues with these treatments early in drug development, before they are tested in humans. Part of the problem is that the tests used early in drug development do not reflect the full complexity of the human immune system. In addition, these tests tend to be based on a healthy immune system, which is different to the immune system of someone who is ill.

The imSAVAR project aims to deliver a range of tools that will enhance our ability to assess the efficacy and safety of these immunomodulatory therapies. They also plan to develop new biological markers for diagnosing and predicting immune-mediated safety issues, and explore ways of mitigating them.

In the longer term, the project will help to deliver safer medicines for patients and also contribute to the ‘3Rs’ (i.e. the drive to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research).

Achievements & News

The secret life of tumours
February 2020

In recent funding calls, IMI turned its attention to emerging cancer therapies, seeking better understanding of things like factors behind resistance to treatment and immunotherapy success. Two projects in this field were launched recently – IMMUCAN and imSAVAR.###

IMMUCAN aims to analyse the tumour tissue, blood, stool, saliva, and clinical data from about 3 000 patients to hopefully better understand the mechanisms of resistance to current treatments (including immunotherapy) that would enable identification of new therapeutic targets and identify biomarkers that can tell us who is most likely to respond well to what treatment.

imSAVAR is creating tools to help figure out the potential safety or efficacy issues of immune therapies in the early drug development stages. Currently, tests used early in drug development don’t reflect the full complexity of the human immune system, and they tend to be based on a healthy immune system. This means that it is hard to predict how safe or effective immune therapies are before they are tested in humans.

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Participants Show participants on map

EFPIA companies
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Internationalgmbh, Ingelheim, Germany
  • F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Basel, Switzerland
  • Institut De Recherches Servier, Suresnes, France
  • Labcorp Early Development Laboratories Limited, Harrogate, United Kingdom
  • Merck Kommanditgesellschaft Auf Aktien, Darmstadt, Germany
  • Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, United States
  • Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland
  • Sanofi-Aventis Recherche & Developpement, Chilly Mazarin, France
  • Transgene SA, Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands
  • Bundesinstitut Fur Impfstoffe Und Biomedizinische Arzneimittel, Langen, Germany
  • Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany
  • Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Forderung Der Angewandten Forschung Ev, München, Germany
  • Lunds Universitet, Lund, Sweden
  • Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany
  • Medizinische Universitat Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • Universitaet Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  • Universitaetsklinikum Wuerzburg - Klinikum Der Bayerischen Julius-Maximilians-Universitat, Wuerzburg, Germany
  • Universitatsklinikum Jena, Jena, Germany
  • Universite Du Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
  • Universiteit Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
  • Universitetet I Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Biosci Consulting Bvba, Maasmechelen, Belgium
  • Dynamic42 GMBH, Jena, Germany
  • Information Technology For Translational Medicine (Ittm) SA, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
  • T-Curx GMBH, Wurzburg, Germany
Associated partners
  • Jdrf International, New York, United States
Project coordinator
Ulrike Köhl
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Forderung Der Angewandten Forschung Ev