EFPIA members will contribute half the budget to support collaborative R&D.

The European Commission-funded Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) launched a €223.7 million program through which academic and industrial partners will collaborate on accelerating the development of new drugs that tackle antibiotic resistance. The budget for successful projects will comprise €109 million in funding from IMI, and €114.7 million provided through in-kind contributions by participating European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) companies.

The program comes under the European Commission’s Action Plan against rising threats from antimicrobial resistance, which was launched in November 2011. A number of additional projects are also under development, which could take the total budget to nearly €600 million over seven years.

Initial projects under the latest call for proposals will focus on building research networks, facilitating research data exchange, and improving the efficiency of clinical trials on new antibiotics by developing better laboratory tests and trial designs. Another aim is to develop new approaches to improving the uptake of antibiotics by Gram-negative resistant pathogens.

The program will provide academic and clinical researchers and SMEs with “a unique opportunity to speed up their research in the area of antimicrobial resistance,” comments Michel Goldman, IMI’s executive director. “The collaboration will give them access to the knowledge and expertise of the pharmaceutical industry.”

IMI claims to be Europe’s largest public-private partnership focused on drug discovery and development. As a joint initiative between the EU and EFPIA, IMI is funded to the tune of €1 billion under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme. The total in EC funding will be will be matched in value by primarily in-kind contributions worth another €1 billion from member companies of the EFPIA.

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