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Europe provides €172m for research into innovative medicines

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1577 (Published 10 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1577
  1. Rory Watson
  1. 1Brussels

The second wave of medical research projects funded by the European Union’s largest biopharmaceutical public-private partnership was announced in Brussels on 8 March. The eight programmes aim to develop new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and infectious diseases.

The €172m (£147m; $238m) cost of the projects is being provided by the EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (www.imi.europa.eu/), a partnership between the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.

Commenting on the latest funding, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European research, innovation and science commissioner, said: “By speeding up drug development across Europe, the investments made by the initiative will ultimately save and improve lives, as well as making a major contribution to the Innovation Union and to growth and jobs.”

Three of the projects—PREDECT, ONCOTRACK and QUIC-CONCEPT—aim to improve ways to diagnose and treat lung, prostate, ovarian, breast, and colon cancers. Two others—RAPP-ID and BTCure—will focus on developing novel diagnostic tools for infectious disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The final three—DDMoRe, OPEN-PHACTS and EHR4CR—will design methods for common standards and sharing of data for more efficient drug development and patient treatment in the future.

The projects will last between three to five years. They bring together 23 drug companies, 103 academic teams, 23 small businesses, and two patient organisations.

Announcing the latest awards, Michel Goldman, the initiative’s executive director, said: “The uniqueness of what IMI [Innovative Medicines Initiative] is doing to facilitate innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector is the scale of the collaborative research now being undertaken and it’s changing how drug development happens.”

The first wave of 15 innovative medicine projects was launched a year ago with European funding of €280m. Some are already beginning to produce results. The NEWMEDS programme includes the world’s biggest database on schizophrenia containing over 10 000 patients and pioneering mechanistic studies combining genetic and imaging approaches.

The U-BIOPRED project has developed an international consensus statement on the classification of patients with severe asthma and produced a new algorithm for use in clinical research. Various educational and training programmes have established European standards for graduate and postgraduate medical courses.

Preparations are now under way for the third wave of innovative medicines development. This will cover autism, tuberculosis, diabetes and the safety of drugs and vaccines. Overall, the Innovative Medicines Initiative has a €2bn budget for its research programme to accelerate the discovery and development of safer and more effective drugs.

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1577

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