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Horizon Europe and its institutional partnerships can make Europe unique again

In the seventh EFPIA manifesto blog, we show how an institutional public private partnership that would enable new “radical translational research collaboration” models across industries and disciplines will offer Europe an important competitive advantage and why we need a flexible framework to push the boundaries of what is achievable through collaborative research partnerships.
 
Last week the European Parliament’s ITRE committee achieved something unprecedented: MEPs aligned across the entire political spectrum and, in almost no time, turned more than four thousand amendments into coherent compromise texts on Horizon Europe, the next research framework programme. By adopting this compromise by an overwhelming majority, the Parliament sends a strong signal to society and to the scientific community that Europe can deliver quickly and efficiently. And on the eve of the Competitiveness Council discussion, it highlights that research and innovation is essential for the future of Europe’s economic development and the health of our citizens and that an agreement should be possible.
 
European Research Framework Programmes have a proven track record of directly supporting medical and health system innovation, patient access to innovative healthcare solutions, Europe’s cohesion and growth, as well as the continuing attractiveness of Europe as a location for life sciences and investment. And research-intensive health industries are reliant on a vibrant and connected health and research ecosystem.  With dedicated tools - European Research Infrastructures, SME tools or institutional public private partnerships – framework programmes create a still unique pan-European infrastructure for translational research. The role of translational research cannot be underestimated – it validates (or not) the fundamental science discoveries, and turns them into standardised processes that can be industrialized and upscaled so that the results can reach all patients and citizens. The pharmaceutical industry along with other life science industries plays an essential part in this process, also bearing most of the risks of failures if the scientific idea does not prove as promising as anticipated.
 
European institutional partnerships, such as the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) in the health field, played an important role in setting new collaboration models where a neutral broker (the IMI office) brings together the demand and the supply side, the regulated and the regulators, the enablers and the gatekeepers from the continuum of health, research and care. This “radical collaboration” based on a community of brains and sharing what is not routinely shared thanks to the concept of in-kind contributions, was heralded by Commissioner Moedas at the IMI’s 10th anniversary:  it is both a unique European specialty and an essential enabler turning fundamental science into solutions for the patients.  
 
This unique European partnership for health delivers tangible, meaningful results to patients and society as we could literally see and touch in recent conferences or read in last week’s FT: Ebola, COPD, Asthma, Autism, Alzheimer, Epilepsy, Diabetes, Frailty, and more generally medicines safety and health data management - all saw first in class developments which get us ever closer to effective, safe and personalised treatments. If you missed the IMI 10th anniversary events, you can still see the IMI Ebola vaccine developed by IMI’s Ebovac 1 project that will be showcased on 27 November in the European Parliament.  
 
Having successfully tested the concept of radical collaboration and pushed boundaries of precompetitive research in one sector in IMI, we are ready to push it into new and completely uncharted territory where different sectors could join forces with research and healthcare communities and maintain Europe at the forefront of medical and health systems innovation.  This is why we call for an adapted legal framework for public private partnership to explore these uncharted and globally unique territories to address the health challenges of the future. 

Magda Chlebus

Magda Chlebus, Executive Director of Science Policy & Regulatory Affairs at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical...
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