In an effort to ease bottlenecks in the pharmaceutical R&D process, 15 major research projects have been granted €246m under the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

The deal is part of a public-private partnership between the European Commission (EC) and the European pharmaceutical industry.

The projects will promote understanding of health issues such as diabetes, pain, severe asthma and psychiatric disorders, while enhancing the safety and efficiency of new medicines.

EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potoenik said that in times of crises this model of cooperation would prove particularly well suited to answering EU public health and economic needs.

The awards under IMI are being made to academic institutes and small companies. The EC will contribute €110m, with the pharmaceutical industry providing €136m in kind by supplying staff and equipment.