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€ 280 million to tackle Ebola under a joint EU-pharmaceutical industry initiative

 

Brussels, 6 November 2014

The European Commission and the European pharmaceutical industry are launching today a €280 million call for proposals under the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) to boost EU research on Ebola. The funding will cover urgent actions addressing the current epidemic and put in place a long-term strategy to manage any future outbreaks. €140 million will come from Horizon 2020, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation, and €140 million from the pharmaceutical companies that are members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). This call is a substantial contribution to the EU's strategy to fight Ebola and complements the recently announced €24.4 million of funding dedicated to speed up some of the most promising research to develop vaccines and treatments (IP/14/1194).

The European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said: "The EU is determined to help find a solution to Ebola. We are putting our money where our mouth is and boosting EU research on Ebola with an additional €280 million. With this funding from Horizon 2020 and our industry partners, we are stepping up the development of new vaccines and medications to help save lives around the world."

Michel Goldman, IMI Executive Director commented: "Today’s launch exemplifies IMI’s firm commitment to addressing major health challenges where there is an unmet medical need and where the impact on public health is high".

Richard Bergstrom, Director General EFPIA, stated: “Stopping the spread of Ebola, now and for future generations, is a key priority for the pharmaceutical industry, which has a long history in fighting pervasive infectious disease".

The call for proposals will use a new fast-track procedure to get successful projects up and running early next year. The research will involve large-scale clinical trials of new vaccines in the Ebola affected countries as well as the development of fast diagnostic tests and new approaches to manufacture and distribute vaccines.

Background

The IMI call for proposals is part of the Ebola+ research programme which focuses on Ebola and other filoviral haemorrhagic fevers. Filoviruses are a family of viruses of which the most commonly known members are Ebola virus and Marburg virus. Both viruses cause severe, usually lethal haemorrhagic fever. The current call includes five topics and it is expected that further topics will be included in future calls to implement additional elements of the overall Ebola+ programme.

This programme complements earlier efforts by the EU which has been active since the beginning stages of the Ebola crisis. Support to research is part of the EU's response, together with humanitarian aid, expertise, international coordination and longer-term development assistance.

About IMI

The Innovative Medicines Initiative is working to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need. It does this by facilitating collaboration between the key players involved in healthcare research, including universities, the pharmaceutical and other industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient organisations, and medicines regulators.

IMI is a partnership between the EU and the European pharmaceutical industry, represented by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). IMI was launched in 2007 and had a budget of €2 billion in its first phase until 2013. IMI2 has a budget of €3.3 billion for the period 2014-2024. Half of this comes from the EU. The other half comes from large companies, mostly from the pharmaceutical sector; these do not receive any EU funding, but contribute to the projects ‘in kind’, for example by donating their researchers’ time or providing access to research facilities or resources.

About Horizon 2020

On January 2014 the European Union launched a new, seven year research and innovation funding programme called Horizon 2020. Over the next seven years almost €80 billion will be invested in research and innovation projects to support Europe's economic competitiveness and extend the frontiers of human knowledge. The EU research budget is focused mainly in improving everyday life in areas like health, the environment, transport, food and energy. Research partnerships with the pharmaceutical, aerospace, car and electronics industries also encourage private sector investment in support of future growth and high-skill job creation. Horizon 2020 will have an even greater focus on turning excellent ideas into marketable products, processes and services.

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Contacts :

Lucia Caudet (+32 229-56182)

Mirna Bratoz (+32 2 298 72 78)