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The R&D Evolution: New Partnerships Inspire Global Approaches to Global Problems


This week the National Institutes of Health announced the launch of the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP). The public private partnership falls in line with the trend towards collaborative research and open innovation promoted by the European Innovative Medicines Initiative. With a counterpart on the other side of the Atlantic now established, we can finally start to talk about a global and interconnected research community. This interaction is, I think, necessary if we are to efficiently find cures for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which affect a growing percentage of the global population.

This new initiative also underlines what a success IMI has been in Europe. It is at this time the largest public private partnership in healthcare with a budget of over €2 billion and has great successes over the last six years – and I expect we will see more. Projects like U-BIOPRED, exploring personalised approaches to severe asthma, and the DIRECT project, which is advancing personalised therapies in Diabetes, are advancing cutting-edge research in targeted therapies.  The PharmaCog project is developing new tools to test candidate drugs for Alzheimer’s – a disease increasingly gaining global attention as we face ageing populations. Meanwhile, the NEWMEDS project has created the largest known database of studies on schizophrenia – showing once again that collaborative efforts reap real results capable of delivering for patients.

With the final call for IMI having past in December, we can expect more great results. IMI Call 11 came with a total budget of €340 million and covers essential areas of healthcare including Alzheimer’s Disease, osteoarthritis, and antimicrobial resistance – all areas that have become increasingly of concern to societies around the world.  We can also now look forward to the second Innovative Medicines Initiative, IMI2, and our efforts in making it an even greater success than its precursor.

EFPIA will no doubt be able to engage and share its experience with AMP. In the long run, these two initiatives may also be able to inspire other such partnerships to ensure that research is integrated at a global level, ensuring that patients everywhere get the medicines they need. Disease doesn’t know borders – Alzheimer’s is not a European issue, while Diabetes is not an American problem. The research that works towards solutions for these problems should likewise know no borders.

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EFPIA Science Policy Director

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