The new topics of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) aim to make clinical trials more digital, more patient-centric, contribute to medicine safety, and apply blockchain technologies to the drug development and health sectors.

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The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has launched several calls for proposals. The topics address, among others, brain disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, major depression) and immune-mediated diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis and lupus as well as inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's and colitis, and skin diseases like dermatitis and psoriasis). The aim of the topics is to make clinical trials more patient-centric, contribute to medicine safety, and apply blockchain technologies to the drug development and health sectors.

Pierre Meulien, IMI Executive Director commented: "Our new Antimicrobial Resistance Accelerator programme represents a strategic, coordinated response to one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. Meanwhile the topics on digital health and the blockchain highlight IMI’s commitment to working with all sectors involved in healthcare."

The AMR Accelerator

The aim of the new IMI AMR Accelerator is to progress the development of new medicines to treat or even prevent resistant bacterial infections in Europe and worldwide. The programme comprises three pillars. A Capability Building Network will coordinate the programme and carry out research to strengthen the scientific basis in the AMR field, while the Tuberculosis Drug Development Network will work to accelerate the discovery of new combinations of drugs to treat TB. Finally, Portfolio Building Networks will support collaborative efforts to discover, develop and advance new and innovative agents to prevent or treat AMR. The scope of the AMR Accelerator is broad; under one structure, it will address many of the scientific challenges of AMR, and it will support the development of new ways to prevent AMR (including vaccines) and treatments (including new antibiotics). More broadly, the IMI AMR Accelerator also contributes to the European action plan on AMR, which includes a chapter on boosting research, development and innovation for AMR. Some of the topics of the current open calls (Call 15 and 16) will enhance the digital transformation of Health and Care in Europe.

Clinical trials will become digital

Current clinical trial assessments are often based on subjective clinical scoring systems, which do not provide an accurate, detailed picture of a patient's condition. This topic aims to tackle this problem by identifying, assessing and validating digital technologies (e.g. wearable and home-based devices) that could reliably and sensitively measure patients' clinical conditions in their homes or as they go about their daily lives. The project will focus its efforts on technologies capable of monitoring patients with neurodegenerative disorders (namely Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease) and inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease). The project will ultimately result in better clinical trials that provide more detailed data on patients' condition and also allow more patients to take part in clinical trials.

Bringing the blockchain into healthcare

This topic aims to establish a common blockchain ecosystem for pharmaceutical development, manufacturing and distribution. By bringing together all parties, including patients, healthcare providers and health authorities, it will establish an agreed framework and reference implementation that addresses data integrity, security and privacy as well as regulatory compliance and efficiency. This framework will act as an integration layer linking underlying blockchain technologies with specific business applications in areas such as the supply chain, clinical development, and health data. Long-term impacts of the project will be greater trust between all participants in the sector and the more efficient use of resources.

The Innovative Medicines Initiative

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is working to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, the next generation of 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, pharmaceutical companies, other companies active in healthcare research, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient organisations, and medicines regulators. This approach has proven highly successful, and IMI projects are delivering exciting results that are helping to advance the development of urgently-needed new treatments in diverse areas.

IMI is a partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry, represented by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). Through the IMI2 programme, IMI has a budget of EUR 3.3 billion for the period 2014-2020. Half of this comes from the EU's research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. 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.

Deadline for proposals: 24 October 2018

More information

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