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European Union and Pharmaceutical Companies Offering Aid Worth €130 m to Scientists and Developers

Scientific workplaces and small and medium enterprises can respond to the twelfth call of the IMI 2 initiative until 24 October of this year. It is a public partnership project supported by the EU and leading pharmaceutical companies. The aid is usually directed to areas in which the need for progress is genuinely urgent. Currently, this concerns research into Alzheimer’s disease, for example. A total of €130 m is now available, but Czech entities can compete for only part of these funds.

One of the selected topics is vaccinations for older people. Their immune systems are progressively weakening and so they are especially endangered by infectious diseases. With regard to the aging of the population, their treatment means a greater burden for healthcare systems. Prevention in the form of vaccination can be effective and cheaper than treatment. The aim of IMI 2 participants should be to study the burden of infectious diseases on people over 50, the development and simulation of programmes for reducing the burden resulting from such diseases or studying the immune response to vaccinations for people over 65. The final aim is to design a programme for vaccinating senior citizens comparable with the existing vaccination programme for children.

In medical research and the development of drugs there are a number of problems and unanswered questions. I trust that by linking the best individuals from the public and private sectors the initiative will help achieve progress and contribute to the acceleration of developments,” said the initiative’s Executive Director Pierre Meulien. As can be seen from the topic of vaccination described, it is not only laboratory research into molecules usable in medicines. Very often, aid is also directed to work with medical results databases (big data), the development of information systems or simulators usable in treatment and research, and so on.

Consortia, which have to be international, can request aid from IMI 2. They usually comprise academic workplaces and large pharmaceutical companies in the role of guarantors primarily providing know-how, the results of studies and other non-monetary aid. Businesses (up to 250 employees and a turnover of up to €50 m annually) represent third type of suitable partners.

Partners for the creation of a consortium can be found using the “IMI Partner Search Tool” at the website www.imi.europa.eu, in the section Calls for proposals – Find partners. Basic information for interested parties in Czech has been published by the Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry at its website (www.aifp.cz). The Association tries to support the involvement of Czech companies and scientists and can help with providing experience of those who took part in previous IMI-supported projects.

In the spring of this year we drew attention to the tenth call; now the twelfth is current for Czechs. The eleventh call has also been opened. It is, however, only about the extension of some current projects that Czech workplaces are not involved in,” explained the Executive Director of the Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry Mgr. Jakub Dvořáček, MHA.


Other Selected Topics from the Twelfth IMI 2 Call:

Alzheimer’s disease and technology. The aim of the call is to develop a digital platform, for example, for a smartphone or other device ascertaining changes in patients’ cognitive and functional abilities. The device would then help with treatment, or the assessment of its success.

Transport of drugs across the blood-brain barrier. The topic is focused on studying the interface through which nutrients get from the blood into the brain, but that also prevents pathogens from getting in. For treatment reasons there is a need to “get” active ingredients across it, which, however, does not have to be easy, in particular for large molecules of biological medicines. The project is focused on two main areas: treatment of neurodegenerative illnesses and illnesses related to the metabolism (diabetes, obesity).


Where next

Further information about the call – www.imi.europa.eu/content/imi2-call-12

At the IMI 2 website there are presentations and recordings from webinars about the topics of the calls, the IMI’s usual rules and procedures.

At the www.aifp.cz website there are basic instructions for applicants in Czech.


For further information, please contact:
Šárka Dragounová