EU Initiative Targets Pharma Competitiveness | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: April 30, 2008

EU Initiative Targets Pharma Competitiveness

Program seeks to reverse decline in European drug discovery
Department: Business

The European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries & Associations have launched the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a joint $3 billion effort that aims to remove drug discovery bottlenecks and accelerate the development of new medicines in the European Union.

The initiative is a public-private partnership that will have a total budget of $3 billion through 2013. This year, grants of nearly $200 million will be made to what are judged to be the most promising research projects in the areas of brain disorders and metabolic and inflammatory diseases. Future IMI grants will also cover cancer and infectious diseases.

The initiative is an acknowledgment of Europe's declining importance in the global pharmaceutical industry. Up to 1998, the commission points out, some seven out of 10 new medicines originated from Europe; that success rate now is about three out of 10. "IMI is about pooling public and private efforts so that Europe can be a big player," says Janez Potočnik, European science and research commissioner.

IMI is the latest in a series of research projects established under the commission's Joint Technology Initiatives program. Others are in embedded computing systems, aeronautics and air transport, nanoelectronics, fuel cells and hydrogen, and global monitoring for environment and security.

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