IMI launches Calls to advance drug development in Ebola, Alzheimer’s and AMD

Posted: 22 December 2015 | Victoria White | No comments yet

The IMI has launched two Calls for proposals that will advance drug development in Ebola, childhood cancers, neurological disorders, and eye disease…

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has launched two Calls for proposals that will advance drug development in Ebola, childhood cancers, neurological disorders, and eye disease.

IMI is working to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines. 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.

One of the call for proposals invites consortia to submit proposals covering diverse aspects of Ebola research, including the development of vaccines, diagnostic tests, and treatments. The resulting projects should be able to capture emerging scientific advances and turn them into healthcare interventions that will increase readiness to react to future outbreaks of Ebola or related diseases.

IMI brings together experts from industry, academia, small biotechs and patient groups

The second Call covers seven topics, including two on Big Data:

  • Childhood cancers – Today, 20% of childhood cancers remain incurable and survivors of childhood cancers often experience long-term side effects. This topic will deliver a platform of research tools to facilitate the identification of potential drugs for childhood cancers.
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases – The focus of this topic is on how protein tangles, which are hallmarks of both diseases, spread throughout the brain. The project results will therefore increase the chance of identifying new targets for drugs.
  • Chronic pain – Neuropathic pain affects 6-8% of the population and is extremely hard to treat. This topic focuses on improving our understanding of the underlying causes of neuropathic pain, something that will aid in the development of new treatments.
  • Eye diseases – There are currently no effective treatments for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and it is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. This topic aims to develop new and better measures of patients’ disease status that could be used when testing new drugs in clinical trials.
  • Medicines safety – This topic aims to advance the use of imaging in assessments of medicines safety. Among other things, this would improve medicines safety, add to our understanding of why medicines sometimes cause toxicity, and reduce the use of animals in research.
  • Big data for better outcomes – In addition to a topic to coordinate and support the entire big data programme, the Call includes a topic that aims to improve clinical outcomes for people with heart disease through better access to, and use of data.

Pierre Meulien, IMI Executive Director, commented on the Calls: “These Calls for proposals demonstrate the added value of IMI. Excellent science exists in all of these research areas, but only by bringing together experts from industry, academia, small biotechs, patient groups, and others can we hope to translate world-class science into improved health for patients.”