Launch of IMIDIA – An Innovative Medicines Initiative Project for Diabetes

June 14, 2010

FRANKFURT, Germany and LAUSANNE, Switzerland and PARIS, June 14, 2010
/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — IMIDIA (“Innovative Medicines Initiative for
Diabetes”), a public private consortium funded by the Innovative Medicines
Initiative (IMI), announced today the launch of a project focusing on
pancreatic islet cell function and survival. Academia, biotech and pharma
industry have joined forces to develop biomarkers and tools to pave the way
for improved disease management and ultimately provide a cure for diabetes.

Leading European experts from 14 academic institutions, 8 pharmaceutical
research organizations and 1 biotech company in the area of pancreatic
ss-cells (= the body’s own insulin producing cells) officially launched the
IMIDIA project. The project is supported by the Innovative Medicines
Initiative (IMI). IMI a unique Public Private Partnership between the
pharmaceutical industry (represented by the European Federation of
Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations / EFPIA) and the European Union.
The EU contributes a total of EUR 1 billion over ten years, which is matched
in-kind by the EFPIA member companies.

IMIDIA is an important stepping stone in the development of better tools,
biomarkers and understanding to enable the development of ss-cell medicines -
a key to an ultimate long-term vision: the cure for diabetes. This pandemic
disease of the 21st century currently affects 285 million people worldwide.
It is anticipated that this number will rise sharply to affect 439 million
people worldwide by 2030 in particular spreading to the younger population.

IMIDIA is a unique collaboration of leading research groups in Europe
focusing on the necessary innovation tightly coupled with the applications
and evaluation of these results to develop new diagnostics, prognostics and
therapeutics. Around 100 researchers operating in 6 different scientific work
packages will focus on novel approaches e.g. imaging biomarkers, systems
biology and pathway analysis with the goal of developing patient relevant
disease models in vitro and in vivo as well as biomarkers to monitor disease
progression and treatment.

“It has been fascinating to see how a powerful consortium has been formed
starting from the different worlds of academic research and the
pharmaceutical industry research organizations,” Werner Kramer from
sanofi-aventis, Bernard Thorens from University of Lausanne and Alain Ktorza
from Servier, the “Triumvirate” coordinating IMIDIA, agree. “Guided by a
sustainable win-win situation for all participants, the collaborative spirit
coupled with the free flow of information and data within the IMIDIA project
teams will support us – the IMIDIA team – in our endeavour to reach these
ambitious goals.”


The IMIDIA team, led by sanofi-aventis, Servier and the University of
Lausanne is working on the generation of novel, patient centric tools,
biomarkers, and fundamental knowledge on ss-cell organization to accelerate
the path to improved diabetes management.

The scientific program aims at delivering:

Novel tools for the study of human ss-cell development, function and
survival; their modulation by potential therapeutic compounds; and for in
vivo ss-cell imaging.

Biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of ss-cell failure and for
monitoring diabetes progression and treatment.

Knowledge on novel pathways and sites that control ss-cell proliferation,
differentiation and apoptosis, and on the role of known nutrient regulated
pathways and sites in controlling ss-cell mass and function.

IMIDIA participants are AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, the French
Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Hannover Medical School (MHH), Imperial
College London, Lilly, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS),
the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), Novartis,
Novo Nordisk, Roche, sanofi-aventis, Sarl Endocells, Servier, SIB Swiss
Institute of Bioinformatics, Vrije University of Brussels, Dresden University
of Technology, University of Geneva, University of Lausanne, University Paris
Diderot, University of Pisa.

The close collaboration of academic teams, pharmaceutical companies and
biotechs is providing unique levels of expertise and is forming a strong
basis to reach the IMIDIA project goals.

For further details – please visit: http://www.imidia.org

About IMI:

The Innovative Medicines Initiative is a unique Public Private
Partnership (PPP) between the pharmaceutical industry represented by the
European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and
the European Union represented by the European Commission.

IMI’s overall goal is to make Europe again the world leader in
pharmaceutical research for the benefit of the economy and society, by
removing research bottlenecks in the current drug development process.

For further details – please visit: http://imi.europa.eu/

SOURCE Sanofi-aventis R&D

Source: newswire

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