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Europe’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)

Europe’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)

Life sciences make up a dynamic sector with a lot of potential to find tomorrow’s new treatments. A culture of pioneering and collaborative work is needed in order to utilize that potential to the full. The European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is a valuable step towards open collaboration in an effort to strive for world-class science.

The IMI was formed by the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) in 2008. It opens up new perspectives for collaborative innovation in the sector. It was created on the one hand to achieve increased levels of collaboration between industry, academia, biotech companies, regulators, patient organizations, and NGOs, and on the other hand to boost innovation in health care.

Investing in health

Acting as a neutral third party, the IMI aims to improve the health and well-being of all European citizens. With a 2 billion euro budget in the period from 2008 to 2013, IMI1 was the biggest life science public-private partnership in the world, with a major contribution from the pharmaceutical industry. IMI2, which covers the period from 2014 to 2024, will be financed with 1.65 billion euros by the European Commission, 1.42 billion euros by the pharmaceutical industry, and 213 million by other life science industries. Janssen does not receive any funding via IMI, but we do invest in this project.

The 2013 report of the World Health Organization on priority medicines for Europe and the world forms the basis of the scientific program of IMI2. It defines twelve European healthcare priorities. The entire process of selecting the projects, identifying the partners, funding the projects, and evaluating the results of the projects is documented and reported to the European Commission to ensure transparency.

Stimulating innovative approaches

The scientific program of IMI2 has been translated into five therapeutic areas and cross-sectoral themes. Janssen, too, participates and invests in it in the context of open innovation. Within IMI2, Janssen is collaborating, for example, in the field of neuro-degenerative diseases. Knowledge on vaccinations (Ebola), diabetes, and immunological diseases is also shared. We’re also working on collective intelligence networks and sharing of data for improved R&D productivity.

Various partners focus together on key elements in their research: better understanding of diseases, developing biomarkers to help with forecasts, diagnosing or treating diseases, the development of research tools and new concepts with a view to better prevention and treatment options. But also the introduction of real world data, life-long learning processes, and interactions with regulatory and patient organizations are vitally important to success.