Press Release 

IMI SOPHIA partners with Maccabi’s research and innovation center (KSM), Pfizer, and Lausanne University Hospital to improve obesity treatment

IMI SOPHIA is pleased to announce an agreement with Maccabi Research and Innovation Center (KSM), Pfizer, and the Lausanne University Hospital to initiate activities for the public-private research consortium ‘SOPHIA (Stratification of Obesity Phenotypes to Optimize Future Obesity Therapy), a €16-million EU-supported international research consortium that aims to improve obesity treatment and change the narrative around obesity.

KSM, Pfizer, and the Lausanne University Hospital will join SOPHIA’s 29 other partners from civil society, academia, and industry with the aim to better understand obesity as a chronic disease and optimise future treatment.

SOPHIA is a 5-year project from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) – a joint undertaking of the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA); JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation); the Obesity Action Coalition; and T1D Exchange. The partners are working together to achieve shared value for all stakeholders, including patients, regulators, industry, payors, and clinicians.

‘Obesity impacts more than 650 million people worldwide today and is associated with more than 200 health-related complications, affecting multiple organ system in the body,” said Lisa Tarasenko, PharmD, Senior Director, Global Medical Affairs and the project’s lead at Pfizer. ‘We are proud to partner with IMI SOPHIA and contribute to its vital research on obesity as a disease, on risk factors for complications, and on predictors of who may respond best to different treatments. By enhancing our collective knowledge through this consortium, we hope to better inform scientific approaches to addressing obesity, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care.’

Professor Avraham Karasik, researcher at KSM (Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi), the Israeli HMO “Maccabi Healthcare Services” research and innovation center, confirms that ‘KSM is a major player in data-driven medical research, including a large database of 2.5 million Maccabi members with 30 years of data collection. We are partnering with researchers, start-ups, and tech companies to create medical breakthroughs. Our co-operations enable powerful validation for better understanding the complexity of obesity as a chronic disease.’

The Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DNC) at the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV), the largest Swiss University Hospital in terms of patients treated, is a university clinical department dedicated to brain diseases, with unique skills and expertise in the field of digital health and mobile health technologies. The DNC at CHUV is one of the main developers and coordinator of the Medical Informatics Platform (MIP), an innovative user-friendly data analysis system that safeguards patient privacy. The MIP is installed in more than 31 European hospitals with a plan to expand the software to SOPHIA researchers. Prof. Philippe Ryvlin, Head of the DNC at CHUV, said ‘We are very proud that our system, which currently serves multinational consortia in support of neuroscience research, will now be extended to the field of obesity.’

Project facts

Project acronym:          SOPHIA

Start date:                      01 June 2020

Duration:                      60 months

Budget:                          €16 Mio

Coordination:             University College Dublin, Prof Carel le Roux

Project Lead:                Novo Nordisk A/S, Dr Marianne Ølholm Larsen Grønning

SOPHIA partners at a glance

About IMI

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is Europe’s largest public-private initiative aiming to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need. IMI facilitates collaboration between the key players involved in healthcare research, including universities, the pharmaceutical and other industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient organisations, and medicines regulators. It is a partnership between the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations). For further information:


Press Contacts

Project Coordinator:

Prof Carel le Roux
University College Dublin
Phone: +353 864117842

Project Lead:
Dr Marianne Ølholm Larsen Grønning

Novo Nordisk A/S

Contact via Media Relations Lead Mette Kruse Danielsen
Phone: +45 30793883

This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 875534. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA and T1D Exchange, JDRF, and Obesity Action Coalition. For further information