U-BIOPRED stands for ‘Unbiased Biomarkers for the Prediction of Respiratory Disease Outcomes’. This is the technical name for the 5-year European-wide project (2010-2014), which aims:
- to understand more about severe asthma
- to determine how it differs from person to person
- to uncover new information and ideas that could lead to the creation of effective new treatments
Using samples and medical information from hundreds of adults and children with severe asthma and by comparing them to samples from people with mild asthma, no asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the project hopes to identify different sub-types (known as phenotypes) of severe asthma.
It is a research project that brings together scientists from universities, research institutes, the pharmaceutical industry and small companies. Patients with asthma and patient organisations are involved, providing the patient perspective in the development of the project. For example, they advise on how best to recruit people with asthma to take part, how many visits are appropriate for a patient to make to a testing centre and how to communicate the project to the public.
U-BIOPRED is funded by a programme set up in 2008 by both the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) called the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). This partnership funds large-scale collaborative research, but it is also one of the first occasions where so many pharmaceutical companies are working together on the same project as partners and not as competitors.