Stratification of obese phenotypes to optimize future obesity therapy


Start Date
End Date
IMI2 - Call 17
Grant agreement number

Type of Action: 
RIA (Research and Innovation Action)

IMI Funding
8 301 000
EFPIA in kind
6 866 250
Associated Partners
1 201 139
80 002
Total Cost
16 448 391


Obesity affects 150 million people in Europe and 650 million worldwide. People with obesity are at a greater risk of health complications like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The aim of the SOPHIA project is to improve our ability to predict who will experience which complications, and who will respond best to different obesity treatments. Currently, this is not possible. Part of the project will focus in particular on the relationship between type 1 diabetes and weight, as a large proportion of people with type 1 diabetes is overweight or has obesity.

SOPHIA will link up and analyse data from different cohorts of people with obesity, and carry out in-depth qualitative studies with patients to identify their perceptions and perspectives on obesity diagnosis and treatment.

This will hopefully deliver insights on the variables that predict the risk of complications and responses to treatment.

People living with obesity will be involved in all aspects of the project via a Patient Advisory Board. Ultimately, the project results should provide the basis for treatment pathways that are accepted by patients, healthcare systems, researchers and clinicians alike.

More broadly, the project hopes to change the narrative around obesity, to make it more patient-centric and equitable and to underline that it is a chronic disease, not something people choose to live with.

Achievements & News

New IMI project SOPHIA hopes to change the conversation on obesity
September 2020

The outdated way we treat obesity has to change, according to researchers from one of IMI’s newest projects, SOPHIA.###

According to project coordinator Prof. Carel le Roux of University College Dublin, obesity treatment has traditionally involved creating a calorie deficit using diet and exercise, an approach that has not always proved effective. It can even makes things worse. Yet despite advances in pharmacological and surgical treatments in the last decade, many healthcare professionals still lack adequate training in new approaches. Moreover, obesity is not considered a disease in many countries, meaning that resources dedicated to treating it are minimal.

‘This means that we are treating the disease with basic and even outdated treatments that cause temporary weight loss, leading to long-term implications like untoward changes in body composition, weight regain, increased duration of patients living with obesity-related complications, stress and depression, and diminished quality of life,’ explains Prof. le Roux.

We currently don’t know which patients will develop complications secondary to their obesity, and who will respond to the new and expensive treatments. SOPHIA has set out to identify these predictors so that we can improve the quality of care. It will be the first project of this scale to address this important question, says Prof. le Roux.

Find out more

Participants Show participants on map

EFPIA companies
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Internationalgmbh, Ingelheim, Germany
  • Eli Lilly And Company LTD, Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • Medtronic International Trading SARL, Tolochenaz, Switzerland
  • Novo Nordisk A/S, Bagsvaerd, Denmark
  • Pfizer Limited, Sandwich, Kent , United Kingdom
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Centre Hospitalier Regional Et Universitaire De Lille, Lille, France
  • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Roma, Italy
  • Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany
  • Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Fundacio Institut D'Investigacio Biomedica De Girona Doctor Josep Trueta, Salt, Spain
  • George Washington University Corporation, Washington Dc, United States
  • Goeteborgs Universitet, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Lunds Universitet, Lund, Sweden
  • Maccabi Sheirutei Briut Foundation, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • SIB Institut Suisse De Bioinformatique, CH-660-0733998-3, Genève, Switzerland
  • The European Association For The Study Of Obesity - Ireland Company Limited By Guarantee, Dublin, Ireland
  • The University Of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
  • Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy
  • Universitaet Ulm, Ulm, Germany
  • Universiteit Maastricht, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • University College Cork - National University Of Ireland, Cork, Cork, Ireland
  • University College Dublin, National University Of Ireland, Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • University Of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Atturos Limited, Limerick Clare, Ireland
  • Lipotype, Dresden, Germany
  • Metabolon GMBH, Potsdam, Germany
  • Third-I, Vilvoorde, Belgium
Associated partners
  • Jdrf International, New York, United States
  • Obesity Action Coalition Inc, Tampa, United States
  • T1d Exchange Inc, Boston, United States
Third parties
  • Fundacio Institut Universitari Pera La Recerca A L'Atencio Primaria De Salut Jordi Gol I Gurina, Barcelona, Spain
  • Obesitas Nederland BV, Huis Ter Heide, Netherlands
  • Universidad De Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
Project coordinator
Carel W Le Roux
University College Dublin, National University Of Ireland, Dublin