The European Commission and the pharmaceutical industry have announced a £1.57bn euro scheme that aims to boost research into new medicines.
Not-for-profit researchers and small businesses will be offered grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative in a bid to get drugs developed more quickly.
In order to acquire the grants the organisations must agree to publicly share their work as part of the scheme’s intention to ensure broad progress in research, rather than giving companies a competitive advantage.
Half the cash for the six-year project is to come from the Commission while the rest will be provided by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).
The first wave of funding is to be aimed at research into brain disorders, metabolic and inflammatory diseases, with grants totalling £97m awarded through 2008.
Arthur Higgins, EFPIA president and chairman of the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer Healthcare, said there is a trend for Europe’s top researchers to leave for the US or Asia to get better funding.
“It must be our goal to make Europe the pharmacy of the world. We have all the right ingredients: we just need the right framework to make it happen,” he said.
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