Be The Cure (BTCure)

At a Glance
  • Status: Completed Consortium
  • Year Launched: 2011
  • Initiating Organization: Innovative Medicines Initiative
  • Initiator Type: Government
  • Disease focus:
  • Location: Europe


The “Be The Cure” (BTCure) consortium is an Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) effort to accelerate the development of drugs against rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It aims to develop (a) animal models; (b) human biobanks, databases, and technologies; (c) a research network to address critical biologic and clinical questions; and (d) a community to network patients and companies.


BTCure’s aim is to bring together academic rheumatology researcher and industry researchers to advance the understanding of disease-causing factors and disease progression in RA, with a focus on accelerating the development of new drugs. Its focus will be the development of new diagnostic methods to discover the early forms of RA as well as tools to separate the different forms of RA, where different molecular mechanisms are involved and where different therapies may be required. The ultimate goal for therapeutic development is to identify the disease-causing molecular events early in the disease and then influence immunity and inflammation so that functional deterioration is halted, immunity is re-regulated, and the disease is cured.

To achieve these goals, samples from biobanks will be analyzed in vitro, and models will be aligned with different variants of human arthritis. In addition, new models will be established using similar molecular pathways as the relevant human arthritis subsets, leading to understanding of the etiology and early pathology of the disease for this program aimed at early and curative treatment of RA and RA-like diseases. A major focus of these efforts will be to understand and subsequently alter the adaptive immune reactions in patients from a disease-inducing mode into either a protective mode against the disease or an asymptomatic mode. Advances made through initial research into the pathology of this group of diseases have been successful, providing information on the nature and regulation of disease-inducing and disease-protective immunity.

Consortium History

2011: BTCure organized a workshop on tolerance/tolerizing therapies.
2012: BTCure organized a standardization workshop for animal models in experimental arthritis.

Structure & Governance

The project is coordinated by UCB, Karolinska Institutet, and Leiden University Medical Centre.

Governance Structure:

BTCure has oversight from the IMI Executive Office and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) partners. A Steering Board, composed of EFPIA and academic partners, provides overall guidance. The Management Board is responsible for day-to-day management of the various work packages (WPs), works with the Coordination Office and Strategic Advisory Board, and reports to the Steering Board. An additional Ethics Board provides oversight to all projects.


BTCure has a total budget of €38.1 million and is funded by IMI, a public-private partnership between the European Union and EFPIA. IMI’s contribution is €16.1 million, EFPIA’s in kind contribution is €14.1 million, and contributions by others total €7.8 million.

Intellectual Property

All IMI projects, such as BTCure, operate under the same umbrella intellectual property (IP) policy. Any IP discovered as a result of work in the collaboration is owned by the participating institution that made the discovery (or if the discovery was made jointly, there is joint ownership). Other participants have access rights to the generated IP during and after the project for research use, and participant owners have the right to license their IP and associated obligations to other parties, including to affiliated entities. Third parties may request access rights, which do not involve the ability to sublicense without receiving authorization from the IP-owning participant.

Patient Engagement

Several patients are directly involved in the governance and communications teams. An official Patient Advisory Board was initiated in 2013. Patients help define the terminology being used for the different RA risk patient groups and provide feedback for communications to broader audiences.

Sponsors & Partners

Academic WP-Leader: James Brewer
EFPIA WP-Leader: Ling Lin
Project Manager: Susanne Karlfeldt,

Academic Medical Center/University of Amsterdam

Agencia Estatal Consjeco Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas

Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center



Biomedcode Hellas SA

Biomedical Research Foundation

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical research

Bristol Myers Squibb

Charite University Medicine Berlin

Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungzxentrum

Diakonhjemmet Hospital


Fondazione Humanitas per la Riecra Univerita degli Studi di Milano


Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche

Institute of Rheumatology, Prague

Janssen Biologics

Karonlinska Institutet

Kings College London

Leiden University Medical Center

Medical University Vienna

Merck Serono

Novo Nordisk


Redoxis AB

Stichting Katholieke Universiteit         

TcLand Expression

Thermo Fisher Scientific


UCB Research, Slough, UK

Universitatsklinkum Erlangen

University College Dublin

University Hospital Montepellier

University of Glasgow

University of Leeds

University of Manchester

University of Oxford

University of Zurich

Uppsala University

Last Updated: 04/06/2016

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