1. Could you describe the IIS program and your role in it?
Research from outside PMI is important to advance the global understanding of our smoke-free products and arrive at a more complete picture. Our Investigator Initiated Studies – IIS – program is a pilot program to encourage investigator-initiated research on our smoke-free products through financial, material or technical support. When we started the program, external research on PMI’s smoke-free products was very limited, because our products were not available in many markets and external funding for research on such products was limited. The intent behind the program was to help initiate external research. The program was established in June 2016, and in just a year and a half we have dedicated USD 10 million to support investigator initiated studies (through 2024).
On a day-to-day basis, we receive IIS proposals, for which I then organize PMI expert and multidisciplinary committee evaluations, provide feedback on the proposals and organize support for ongoing studies in accordance with our guidelines. What I like most about the program is the variety of exciting scientific proposals and the intensive collaboration with my colleagues in PMI’s Science and Innovation organization.
2. Why is the program closing?
I’m really excited to see a fast-growing number of independent studies on our smoke-free products – already over 20 of them. These are original, peer-reviewed scientific studies that are fully independent of PMI support. The last few were published just this year, as well as a couple of recent government reports from the and the . These reviews cover the available scientific evidence on Platform 1 – both ours and independent research.
Most of the independent publications as well as the two government reports are in line with the conclusions from our assessment program, which is very encouraging for us.
Because of such independent studies, there is less need for our support to encourage new studies by external researchers.
The program stopped accepting new applications after January 1 this year, but we will of course continue to support the studies that are underway, progressing according to plan.