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European Public/Private Initiative Plans $230M in Grants

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Innovative Medicines Initiative, a research partnership between the European Commission and European pharmaceutical companies, will grant €156.3 million ($231.9 million) to researchers in its upcoming second funding call.

The IMI was created in 2007 to accelerate discovery and development of new drugs for cancer, inflammatory diseases, and infectious diseases by addressing important research bottlenecks in the process.

It is a decade-long effort funded by a total of €2 billion, with €76.8 million in 2009 funding coming from the European Commission and €79.5 million from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.

IMI has identified nine topic areas for this year's funding program including new oncology tools for target validation; molecular biomarkers that can speed up development of new cancer therapies and refine patient care; identification and development of rapid point-of-care diagnostics for bacterial diagnosis, and for facilitating clinical trials and clinical practice; translational research in chronic immune-mediated disease; imaging biomarkers; understanding aberrant adaptive immunity mechanisms; and electronic health records.

''IMI is our response to the need of improving Europe's attractiveness for pharmaceutical R&D and to ensure that results from fundamental research can be rapidly translated into new innovative treatments," EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik said in a statement when the call was initially announced in September.

"The greatest success of this initiative has been in bringing together normally competing pharmaceutical companies with academic stakeholders in an unparalleled effort to accelerate the discovery of innovative medicines," Bayer HealthCare CEO and President of EFPIA Arthur Higgins added.

IMI plans to release its official documents for the call by Nov. 17.

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