Innovative Medicines Initiative launches new website

November 6, 2006

Brussels, 3 November 2006

Brussels, 3rd November 2006.

Today a new interactive, state-of-the-art website to mobilise participation in the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) across Europe was launched by the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The URL: http://www.imi-europe.org.

The Innovative Medicines Initiative is a unique pan-European public and private sector collaboration between: patient organisations, universities, hospitals, regulatory authorities as well as small and large biopharmaceutical companies. The objective of IMI is to support the faster discovery and development of better medicines.

The website is designed to enhance communication and information flow between everyone involved in biomedical research across Europe. The new website enables patients, all researchers and regulators to learn more about the progress of IMI, its events and organisation. These groups of stakeholders will also be able to ask questions about IMI directly, giving them a voice in shaping future biomedical research in Europe.

Octavi Quintana Trias, Head of Directorate F Health at DG-Research of the European Commission said, "The Innovative Medicines Initiative is key to developing a dynamic and innovative knowledge based economy in Europe and this excellent website moves us forward towards this goal. The Commission is looking forward to starting the implementation of the Innovative Medicines Initiative together with EFPIA and the Member States as soon as possible."

Jonathan Knowles, Chair of the Research Directors' Group of EFPIA said, "This website is an excellent communication resource for scientists and patients who are planning to participate in the Innovative Medicines Initiative. The members of the EFPIA Research Directors' Group are eager to start implementing Patient Centred Projects the moment we get the green-light from the EU."

Creating biomedical R&D leadership for Europe to benefit patients and society is the vision of IMI, which is a powerful strategic partnership between the European Commission and EFPIA, who are supporting the Innovative Medicines Initiative with strategic and financial resources.

About the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)

IMI is a unique pan-European public and private sector collaboration between large and small biopharmaceutical and healthcare companies, regulators, academia and patients and represents a coordinated joint public and private collaboration to boost Europe's biomedical R&D base, correcting the relative under-funding of biomedical R&D in Europe compared to other regions of the world.

The aim of IMI is to support the faster discovery and development of better medicines for patients and enhance Europe's competitiveness by ensuring that its biopharmaceutical sector remains a dynamic high-technology sector. IMI will ensure that Europe's biopharmaceutical sector receives targeted strategic support for the benefit of patients, scientists and citizens of Europe. IMI proposes a number of clear, practical paths that will accelerate the discovery and development of more effective innovative medicines with fewer side-effects.

IMI will implement innovative patient centred research projects that address the principles causes of delay or bottlenecks in the current process of discovering and developing new medicines through powerful public-private collaborations. These bottlenecks have been identified as predicting safety, predicting efficacy, bridging gaps in knowledge management and bridging gaps in education and training. The Strategic Research Agenda, a living document and will be up-dated based on scientific advances, describes the recommendations to address these bottlenecks and provides a plan to guide their implementation.

Enhanced European Competitiveness:

- The Innovative Medicines Initiative is important for Europe because it contributes to the European Union's Lisbon Objective of building the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010;

- The Innovative Medicines Initiative is important for Europe because the scientific challenges facing Europe are too complex for organisations to address in isolation. Therefore pan-European public and private sector collaboration and co-ordination is essential to ensure that patients benefit from advances in biotechnology, such as the decoding of the human genome;

- The Innovative Medicines Initiative is important for Europe because it secures long-term prosperity for Europe through biotechnology, which the European Union considers to be essential for developing a dynamic and innovative knowledge based economy.

Distinct Benefits for Patients, Scientists and Europe:
- Faster discovery and development of better medicines will benefit patients;
- A more attractive professional environment will benefit scientists, addressing the brain-drain;
- The creation of European expertise and know-how in new technologies will attract biomedical R&D investment in Europe;
- The creation and support of sustainable competitive advantage for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME), spin-offs and start-ups will enhance Europe's economy.

Implementation

To fully implement IMI would require an investment of about €460 million per year for an initial seven year period, starting in 2007, shared between the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. A potential overall injection of over €3 billion of new funding to boost Europe's science base and stimulate the faster discovery and development of better medicines. As part of the European Union's 7th Research Framework Programme, IMI will be proposed for Joint Technology Initiative status - subject to approval by the European Competitiveness Council in 2007.

The European Commission and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations will take joint responsibility for creating and operating a new international not-for-profit organisation based on article 171 of the Treaty establishing the European Community. This organisation will have a legal mandate to award significant research grants to European Public-Private Collaborations to conduct innovative patient centred research projects focused on the principal causes of delay or bottlenecks in discovering and developing new medicines. The European Union's 7th Research Framework Programme will fund academic and public sector participants of Public-Private Collaborations and support SMEs. Biopharmaceutical companies will fund their own contributions to 100%. Other types of organisations participating in Public-Private Collaborations will be supported on a case-by-case basis. The biopharmaceutical industry partner(s) will match the funds from the European Union's 7th Research Framework Programme with R&D resources such as staff, laboratories, materials and clinical research capabilities.

European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations -- EFPIA
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