The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) launched, on 17 December 2012, a call for proposals for research in three priority areas: antimicrobial resistance, the definition of diseases based on their underlying biology and the creation of a European induced pluripotent stem cell bank. The budget for IMI's eighth call for proposals totals 222.7 million, of which 143.3 million from the public-private IMI, plus a 99.4 million contribution in kind from participating companies and members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

The initiative already has a major research programme on antimicrobial resistance, which is part of the European Commission's action plan in this area. This new call for proposals adds two more research topics. The first supplements the ND4BB project, launched last May, and focuses on innovative trial design and clinical drug development by supporting the development of a drug targeting Staphylococcus aureus, the leading cause of antibiotic-resistant health care-associated infections worldwide. The second focuses on the development of new drugs to treat Gram-negative bacteria, such as Escherichia coli. The project gives universities and SMEs the opportunity to access expertise and resources needed to advance their candidate drug molecules.

Another research area paves the way to a major rethink in the way diseases are classified. Today, diseases are defined largely on the basis of symptoms and their location in the body. Researchers are now starting to think that for the same diagnosis there may be different genetic and molecular causes from one patient to the next. The research under the call for proposals will initially focus on two disease areas where classification problems are well known: immuno-inflammatory...

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