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Brussels, 14 September 2009

Innovative Medicines Initiative: putting Europe at the forefront of biopharmaceutical innovation.

Today, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), the public-private partnership between the European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry, represented by EFPIA, made its first major announcement of the success of the collaboration. IMI announced the topics of research of its second call for proposals. With these topics, IMI aims to accelerate the discovery and development of new medicines in the field of cancer, inflammatory and infectious disease. The funding available for the 2nd call will be €156.3 million, with €76.8 million provided by the European Commission and €79.5 million expected to be provided in kind from EFPIA member companies. IMI also introduced also its newly-appointed Executive Director, Michel Goldman, who will officially take up his post on 16 September.

The EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik underlined the achievements and major advances of the initiative: ''IMI is our response to the need of improving Europe's attractiveness for pharmaceutical R&D and to ensure that results from fundamental research can be rapidly translated into new innovative treatments. We should see results from this exciting new research mechanism very soon and hereby that new innovative medicines should reach European patients faster."

Addressing the media at the event, Arthur J. Higgins, CEO of Bayer HealthCare and President of EFPIA, praised the collaboration between the industry and Commission: "The IMI is a clear statement that Europe intends to be at the forefront of biopharmaceutical innovation. By accelerating and optimizing R&D processes we are trying to remove bottlenecks in the drug development process. For this reason, we have already invested € 246 million – including € 136 million from industry – in the successful proposals to date. The greatest success of this initiative has been in bringing together normally competing pharmaceutical companies with academic stakeholders in an unparalleled effort to accelerate the discovery of innovative medicines."

The newly-appointed Executive Director, Professor Michel Goldman, said: "I am very pleased to be joining IMI at such an exciting moment in its development. On the basis of my previous experience in public-private partnerships, my first priority will be to strengthen the bridges between academia and industry in the interest of patients".

Michel Goldman's appointment as IMI's new Executive Director is an important step towards IMI's complete autonomy from the European Commission and EFPIA.

The new research topics have been approved by the IMI Board, after extensive consultation between various stakeholders; including the IMI scientific committee, Member states representatives, the European commission and pharmaceutical companies that are members of EFPIA. All of which are committed to collaborate with public and private organization to address these issues more efficiently.

IMI's second call for proposals should be launched on 30 October 2009.


Launched in 2007, IMI is a public-private partnership aiming to support more efficient discovery and development of better medicines for patients by removing research bottlenecks in the current drug development process.

The total IMI budget for the period 2008-2017 is €2 billion (1 billion from the European Community and 1 billion from the industry).

The 1st call of proposals of IMI was launched in April 2008. 134 proposals were submitted of which 15 have been selected to receive € 246 million.

About Michel Goldman

Michel Goldman is professor of immunology at the faculty of medicine of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium. His achievements in the fields of immune-mediated disorders and immune-based biotherapies have resulted in more than 380 articles in peer-reviewed journals. In 2000 he received the Joseph Maisin Prize, a major award for clinical sciences delivered by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research. He was recognized as ISI Highly Cited Scientist in 2006 by the Thomson Institute for Scientific Information

List of the 9 topics of IMI's 2nd call for proposals

  • Imaging biomarkers for anticancer drug development.

  • New tools for target validation to improve drug efficacy (oncology).

  • Molecular biomarkers: accelerating cancer therapy development and refining patient care.

  • Identification and development of rapid point of care diagnostic tests for bacterial diagnosis to facilitate conduct of clinical trials and clinical practice.

  • Understanding aberrant adaptive immunity mechanisms.

  • Translational research in chronic immune-mediated disease: bridging between animal models and humans.

  • Drug/disease modelling: library & framework.

  • Open pharmacological space.

  • Electronic Health Records (EHR).

More information on the IMI   and

See also IP/08/662 and IP/09/802

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