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Future direction of EU policy: innovation

30 June 2009
by inadim -- last modified 09 July 2009

Research and development (R&D) in life sciences is a precondition to pharmaceutical innovation. The Commission recognises the key role pharmaceutical R&D plays. Consequently, it is currently implementing various sector-specific initiatives to restore Europe's leading role as the natural home for pharmaceutical innovation.


In 2006, the 7th Research and Development Framework Programme (FP7) and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) were adopted to support not only the development of new technologies, but also to ensure the early commercialisation of scientific findings.

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is a unique partnership between the European Community and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The aim of IMI is to to support the faster discovery and development of better medicines for patients and to enhance Europe’s competitiveness by ensuring that its biopharmaceutical sector remains a dynamic high-technology sector.

The IMI is a crucial element of the Commission's innovation policy. The objective of this new instrument, a public-private partnership involving the industry and the Commission, is to enhance and accelerate the development process of medicines so as to make new treatment options available to patients earlier.

The IMI addresses the issue of Europe's relative decline in pharmaceutical research by focussing on the main challenges to:

·       improve prediction of the safety and the efficacy of new drug candidates in the early development phases, i.e. prior to costly clinical trials;

·       tackle the current multiplication of research efforts, both in the private and public sector, by jointly developed knowledge management systems;

bridge gaps in training of professionals to ensure a more skilled workforce in Europe for this sector.


2008 European Commission (adapted)

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