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What is the IMI2 Pain Group?

Petra Bloms-Funke – Grünenthal Group, Germany

We have asked Petra Bloms-Funke from Grünenthal about this important Research programme on pain.

What is IMI2?

The Innovative Medicines Initiative 2  IMI2 is the largest public-private partnership for health research worldwide and has a €3 billion budget for the period 2014-2024. It is a public-private partnership between the European Union (EU), represented by the European Commission (EC), and the European pharmaceutical industry, represented by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). IMI has been initiated to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, the next generation of medicines, particularly in areas of unmet medical and social Need. It brings together EFPIA companies, small/medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), academia, healthcare professionals (HCPs), patients and regulators to achieve these complex goals (see also the presentation from Dr. Elisabetta Vaudano at SIP 2017).

What are the aims and undertakings of the IMI2 Pain Group?

In order to drive solutions for pain, we need a concerted approach linking together all the relevant expertise that is available. The Pain Group of IMI2, co-founded by me, unites European pharmaceutical companies dedicated to better understand, treat and manage pain. Its current members are Bayer, Novartis, Lilly and TEVA, co-led by Grünenthal and Esteve. This Group is responsible for defining research projects in pain and submitting concrete proposals to IMI2. Solutions are then sought in cooperation with the best skilled non-EFPIA consortia.

The first collaborative project “NGN-PET” of the IMI2 Pain Group with renowned public partners was started in April 2017 and applies novel approaches to understanding neuropathic pain. Now a second proposal for “Improving the care of patients suffering from acute or chronic pain”, co-led by Grünenthal,  is nearing completion. Its three subtopics address specific scientific challenges, and together offer opportunities for cross-fertilization:

  • Use of Patient Reported Outcome Measures for patient – health care professional contacts in acute and chronic pain management
  • Improving translatability of functional biomarkers in pain pathways
  • Improving translation in chronic pelvic pain.

The ambitious aim of these IMI2-supported pain projects is to advance pain research and to make a significant positive impact on the management of pain in the next years. The project start is assumed early 2018. Further pain projects are outlined and planned to start in 2019.

What is in it for pain patients?

The mission of IMI to improve health ultimately aims at improving the situation of patients. The outcomes of the IMI projects should always be transformative having a clear value for the patients.

Worth emphasising is that the patient organisations are encouraged to assume an active role and participate in concrete projects: either as a full partner or to provide their perspectives for example via memberships in external advisory boards.

Thanks a lot for the interview and we are looking forward to hear more about the IMI2 Pain Group soon.

Group picture: Katrin Seemeyer, Petra Bloms-Funke, Gregor Bahrenberg (Innovation Partnerships, Grünenthal)