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IMI Issues €45M Call for New SARS-CoV-2 Diagnostics, Therapeutics

NEW YORK – The Innovative Medicines Initiative announced a call on Thursday for proposals on new diagnostics and therapeutics to combat coronaviruses including the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

Applicants responding to the call will compete for funding from a total budget of €45 million ($49 million).

The IMI is a European Commission-led, public-private partnership that supports pharmaceutical and diagnostics development. The organization is looking to fund new tests for rapid detection, stratification, and monitoring of patients. IMI will also support the development of new platforms for detection of CoV-2, as well as antivirals and other therapeutics to help address the current outbreak.

In particular, the IMI said in its draft call that new technologies are "essential" for managing the outbreak, isolating patients at risk, and treating patients accordingly. "It is crucial to differentiate and identify respiratory pathogens with similar clinical symptoms … and detect emerging pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2," the Brussels-based organization said. "This can be achieved through point-of-care testing or centralized testing."

The IMI will hold a webinar on the call for potential applicants on March 4. In a Q&A accompanying the publication of the draft call, IMI noted that a number of pharmaceutical partners, including Bayer, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and others, have expressed a willingness to participate in consortiums related to the call.

The IMI said it will begin accepting proposals for relevant projects in early March.