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Second call for Innovative Medicine Initiative launched

The public-private partnership between the European Commission (EC) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) is inviting research consortia to submit proposals for nine scientific topics.

The aim of the call is to speed up the discovery and development of new medicines for diseases such as cancer and inflammatory and infectious diseases. IMI will also fund projects to improve data exchange between industry and the scientific community, an important aspect of knowledge management. The Commission's contribution to this second call of €76.8 million is expected to be at least matched by in-kind contributions from the member companies of EFPIA.

On 16 November 2009, IMI officially became autonomous. It gained financial and operational independence from its two founding members, the European Commission and EFPIA. A new team, led by the new executive director Michel Goldman, will run the Brussels-based IMI's Executive Office and will be responsible for the awards of grants under IMI's second call for proposals.

Out of the nine call topics, three are related to improving knowledge management which is key to future progress in the development of efficient medicines. They notably aim to improve data standards for the industry, academia and regulatory authorities to better evaluate efficacy and safety of new medicines. They also seek to allow easier sharing of information that will accelerate drug development.

The six other topics aim at working on the efficacy of drugs against cancer, inflammatory and infectious diseases. For example, one topic focuses on understanding the composition of cancer tumors and their response to treatment. Another aims to speed up the development of better, cheaper and quicker diagnostics for infectious diseases.

The topics of the Call, which were disclosed in September to allow research consortia to better prepare their applications, arouse strong interest. On 17 November 2009, more than 420 representatives of academic teams, SMEs and other organizations gathered in Brussels Expo for the IMI Open Information Day where they received first-hand information on the call. (EC)