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Europe's IMI launches research projects

Fifteen programmes investigating major diseases have been put into action by the Innovative Medicines Initiative

Fifteen programmes investigating major diseases have been put into action by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public-private partnership between the European Union (EU) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

These ventures aim to speed the discovery and development of new medicines for some of the most serious illnesses, including Alzheimer's disease, asthma, cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, depression, diabetes and schizophrenia.

As the largest public-private partnership in life sciences R&D worldwide, the IMI receives funding from the EU's Seventh Framework programme. The current initiatives are being financed with €281m, provided through a partnership scheme in which EFPIA member companies at least match the funding of the EU mainly by in-kind contributions.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, stated: "The 15 research projects that IMI has already set in motion can make a major contribution to alleviating pain and distress for countless patients and their families. Stimulating medical innovation will also better position Europe as an attractive and competitive environment, aiding economic recovery."

Michel Goldman, executive director of IMI, added: "The disease areas in the IMI projects have been chosen because they are important areas of unmet medical need in Europe. The ongoing and future projects will address the main causes of delay in the R&D processes and will help bring safer and more effective medicines more quickly to the patients."

This week, IMI opened its Stakeholder Forum to bring leading scientists from the projects together to present and share key developments. IMI also presented its plans for the future which include research focused on autism, diabetes, tuberculosis and drug and vaccine safety.

Brian Ager, director general of EFPIA, said: "IMI is a clear demonstration of how the Commission and the research-based pharmaceutical industry can partner to deliver real benefits to Europe's science and research community, ultimately helping to deliver innovation for patients. By bringing together the best of academia with the expertise of industry, IMI will help remove the bottlenecks and speed new therapies to market."

16th June 2010

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