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IMI launches eight projects tackling Ebola


Global: The Innovative Medicines Initiative is launching the first eight projects of its Ebola+ programme to accelerate all aspects of vaccine development and manufacturing, as well as deployment and compliance with vaccine regimens and diagnostics.

The eight projects were selected from proposals submitted under IMI’s first Ebola+ call for proposals, which was launched in November 2014. Between them, the projects bring together over 40 partners from the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries, public health bodies, academia, aid organisations, and small biotech companies in Europe, Africa and the United States.

The projects will have a total budget of €215m, funded by Horizon 2020 and by in-kind contributions from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations partners in the projects.

Making the announcement, Irene Norstedt, IMI acting executive director, said: “The launch of these exciting new projects demonstrates the ability of the IMI to respond rapidly to emerging healthcare emergencies with a programme that will tackle a range of challenges in Ebola research while complementing work supported by other organisations. Our hope is that these projects will help to make a difference in both the current and future outbreaks.”

Projects funded include three focusing on the development of Ebola vaccines and rapid diagnostic tests, in addition to projects focusing on scaling up vaccine manufacture and compliance with vaccine regimens.

Adding his thoughts, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, said: “With this funding from Horizon 2020 and our industry partners, we are speeding up the development of an Ebola vaccine as well as rapid diagnostic tests to aid heroic health workers. These are the tools we need to defeat Ebola once and for all.”

The announcement comes in the run up to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where Ebola will feature high on the agenda. The Ebola+ programme was created in response to the on-going Ebola outbreak in western Africa, which has led to the death of 8,000 people so far. Further calls for proposals are planned for the coming months.

Pan European Networks Ltd