Endpoint: IMI’s First Call

The March 31 issue of IBO outlined specific projects funded by the EU’s €50 billion ($69.9 billion) research support mechanism, the Seventh Framework Program (FP7). The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), one of the six Joint Technology Initiatives in the Cooperation thematic subgroup of the FP7, awarded €236 million ($329.9 million) for its first call for projects in May. The IMI funds the creation of innovative medicines through public-private R&D partnerships. The 15 projects awarded funding will run for four to five years with total funding consisting of €110 million ($153.8 million) from the European Commission and €136 million ($190.1 million) from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. According to the Commission, the IMI is the first instance of EU pharmaceutical competitors collaborating with each other, research organizations and other public institutions to develop pre-competitive knowledge.

Projects under this call include “Qualification of Translational Safety Biomarkers” and the study of “Neurodegenerative Disorders.” According to PharmExec.com, Novartis is coordinating three projects, including one for the creation of systems for in silico toxicity predicition. Hoffman-La Roche and AstraZenca will be coordinating two projects each.

At the end of March, the EU’s IMI Governing Board adopted the IMI’s Draft Scientific Priorities for 2009, which creates the yet-to-be-finalized guidelines for the IMI’s second call. The budget for the 2009 call is expected to be €160 million ($223.6 million). Cancer and inflammation research will be the main priorities, with a focus on biomarker development. The second-call topics are expected to be officially announced in September.

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