European Autism Interventions (EU-AIMS)

At a Glance
  • Status: Active Consortium
  • Year Launched: 2012
  • Initiating Organization: Innovative Medicines Initiative
  • Initiator Type: Government
  • Disease focus:


Around 1 percent of children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), yet there are currently no drugs designed specifically to treat their main symptoms. Working to change this is the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)-funded European Autism Interventions (EU-AIMS) project. Its goal is to generate tools that will enhance understanding of ASD and ultimately pave the way for the development of new, safe, and effective treatments for use in both children and adults. As well as dramatically improving quality of life, good treatments would help to cut the social and economic costs of ASD. The expected project duration is 60 months.


Ultimately, the project aims to develop methods and tools for effective treatments for ASD (in both children and adults) as well as tools to diagnose ASD and assess symptoms in the clinic.

Consortium History

Jan. 4, 2012: Project launched
April 3-4, 2012: Kick-off meeting
April 25-26, 2013: Second General Assembly meeting

Structure & Governance

Project Coordinator
Will Spooren
Group Leader Behavioral Pharmacology

Managing Entity (Academic Lead)
Declan Murphy
King’s College London

Deputy of Coordinator
Omar Khwaja
Hoffman La-Roche

Project Manager
Claudia Speiser
GABO: milliarium mbH & Co. KG

The Scientific and Ethics Advisory Board will ensure a high standard of research and monitor the progress of the project by taking part in the annual General Assembly Meetings. Whenever appropriate, it will consult with the consortium and make recommendations as to improve its performance. The members are Edwin Cook, University of Illinois at Chicago; Randall Carpenter, Seaside Therapeutics; Takao Hensch, Boston Children’s Hospital; Jacqueline N. Crawley, MIND Institute, University of California Davis School of Medicine; Daniel H. Geschwind, Brain Research Institute; and Ilina Singh, King’s College London.


The European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) share responsibility for the operation and the implementation of IMI. The legal entity is the IMI Joint Undertaking (JU) with its Governing Board, Scientific Committee, and executive director (and offices), the latter issuing the calls for research activities and signing the grant agreement with the coordinating institution.

Whereas academic participants and small to medium-sized enterprises in an IMI project are funded by the Seventh Framework Programme, the industrial partners, which must be EFPIA members, contribute their own funds, matching the amount of public spending at no less than 100 percent.

For more information on this new funding mechanism and the calls, consult the IMI website at

Contributions are as follows: IMI (€19.5 million), EFPIA in kind (€7.9 million), EFPIA US (€1.7 million), and other (€6.8 million), for a total cost of €35.9 million. 

Intellectual Property

The IMI intellectual property (IP) policy governs the IP regime of all projects funded by the IMI JU.  To assist with specific IP queries, IMI has set up a dedicated IP Helpdesk, which can be contacted by emailing The IMI IP policy can be accessed at the following address:

Patient Engagement

EU-AIMS involves a collaboration among organizations representing affected individuals and their families (Autism Speaks), academia, and industry. Patient organizations, academia, and industry join forces to develop and assess novel treatment approaches for autism.

Data Sharing

In keeping with IMI policy, the project has up to one year after completion to disseminate IP or data created by the project.


EU-AIMS will generate new tools to study the biology behind ASD and test the efficacy of potential treatments. For example, the team will gather samples from people bearing certain mutations associated with ASD, which will pave the way for the generation of cell lines that can be used to test treatments.

Elsewhere, researchers will advance the use of brain scans as a tool to boost ASD drug discovery and to identify which people with ASD might respond best to a given drug. The project will create a pan-European network of clinical sites. As well as making it easier to run clinical trials, this network will create an interactive platform for those with ASD and professionals.

By paving the way for the development of new treatments, EU-AIMS is poised to dramatically improve the quality of life of the growing numbers of people with ASD. In addition, EU-AIMS will help to cut the heavy economic and social costs of autism.

Points of Contact

Will Spooren
F. Hoffmann-la Roche AG
phone: +41 61 688 6350

Declan Murphy
King’s College London
phone: +44 207 848 0984

Sponsors & Partners

Autism Speaks

Birkbeck College

Central Institute of Mental Health

Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives

Eli Lilly and Company Ltd.

European Molecular Biology Laboratory

F. Hoffmann-la Roche AG

GABO: millarium

Institut de Recherches Servier

Institut Pasteur

Institute of Education

Islensk Erfdagreining ehf

Janssen Pharmaceutica NV

Karolinska Institutet

King’s College London

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften eV

NeuroSearch A/S

Pfizer Ltd.

Stichting Katholieke Universiteit / Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre

Universita Campus Bio Medico di Roma

Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht

Universität Basel

Universität Ulm

University of Cambridge

Vifor SA

Last Updated: 04/15/2016

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