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Public-private partnerships 'making a difference' in Europe

One of those is the IMI, which has helped drug development bottlenecks

European Commission 

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) such as the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) have created thousands of jobs across the EU, according to the European Parliament.

The IMI is one of six PPPs set up towards the end of the last decade to try to kick-start innovation and in addition to creating around 2,200 skilled jobs has helped overcome some important bottlenecks in drug development.

Pharma is increasingly embracing these partnerships, recognising that it can no longer rely on internal resources to keep new medicines flowing through R&D pipelines and that some challenges - such as improving the design of clinical trials or reducing the number of animals used in R&D - are best solved collectively.

A four-day event kicked off at the European Parliament last week to review progress with the PPPs formed to date and discuss how industry and the public sector can develop a "pact for innovation" in Europe that can continue to deliver socio-economic benefits.

"IMI was created because medicines development is a lengthy, inefficient and costly process, and turning scientific discoveries into benefits for patients is incredibly challenging," said the Parliament in a statement released at the start of the conference.

"In addition, Europe's drug development sector faces increasingly stiff competition from the US and Asia." 

Armed with a budget of €5bn between 2008 and 2024 - half from the EU's research budget and half from pharma companies - the IMI has already delivered tools to speed up drug development in areas such as brain disorders, diabetes, and antimicrobial resistance, reduce costs and provide training and education drug development professionals. 

IMI projects are also helping to reduce the use of animals in medical research and establishing new research resources, networks and infrastructures, such as the COMBACTE project which has created a pan-European network of clinical trial sites for antibiotics designed to treat drug-resistant infections.

The IMI project has also involved 169 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have received almost 16% of the funding to date.

IMI's first projects began in 2009-2010 and are drawing to a close now, with a study of the socio-economic impacts of these projects expected in early 2016.

Most of the industrial partners are in the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), and do not receive funding directly but take part in projects 'in kind', for example by investing their researchers' time or providing access to research facilities or resources.

Article by
Phil Taylor

14th December 2015

From: Research

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