News Feature | July 14, 2014

EU Launches Initiative To Fast Track Next Gen Drugs

By Estel Grace Masangkay

The second Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI 2) has been launched in Europe with the aim of fast-tracking development of next generation drugs, particularly those targeting unmet medical needs. The 3.3 billion euro IMI 2 Strategic Research Agenda will also promote quicker patient access to new drugs.

The agenda for IMI 2 is built on the World Health Organization Priority Medicines for Europe and the World report and focuses on two main areas, namely Type 1 diabetes and retinal diseases.

The JDRF diabetes charity and patient organization will coordinate the IMI 2 initiative on diabetes directed at advancing understanding of the global disease. The project will also try to address the felt need for more tools and better technology needed to help people detect their risk of developing T2D. The IMI 2 initiative on retinal diseases will also address the lack of effective drugs for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or diabetic retinopathy.

The IMI 2 is now calling for proposals regarding its goals and research agenda. The program will leverage the momentum of the IMI’s first phase, which has brought breakthroughs in a range of medical areas. Earlier this year the IMI developed and launched a new project entitled GETREAL focused on investigating novel methods of integrating data from real life medical settings such as clinics into drug development. GETREAL brought together key stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory agencies, health technology evaluation bodies, academia, healthcare budget officials, and patient groups to share insights and advance drug development.

Last year the IMI also launched a 53 million euro project to assess a new approach in conducting clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. The initiative also took a multi-stakeholder approach in investigating whether testing several drugs at once translated to faster drug development and patient access to the latest Alzheimer’s drugs.

IMI 2 is a public-private collaboration between the European Commission and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).