The FNIH Announces Transformative Partnership to Identify and Map Key Biological Pathways That Drive Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases

North Bethesda, MD, December 9, 2021 – The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are launching a new partnership to investigate how cells of the immune system interact in tissue to drive inflammation and autoimmune disease. The Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases (AMP® AIM) Program will advance our understanding of key disease pathways using new tools to map in three-dimensions how cell types, cell states, and cell-to-cell interactions network to cause inflammation, abnormal function, and tissue injury. The resulting data will accelerate our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms and causes of autoimmune disease, allow more informed selection of patients for clinical trials, and generate new targets for drug development.

“AMP AIM is the result of an innovative effort to fundamentally change the way that we identify treatment targets for autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases. The program builds on the success of AMP RA/SLE and aims to create a framework for how we get new treatments to patients,” said Dr. Lindsey A. Criswell, Director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Autoimmune diseases affect more than 25 million Americans, and recent studies suggest that the prevalence and incidence of these diseases are increasing. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic spectrum diseases, Sjögren’s disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are chronic autoimmune diseases characterized by profound abnormalities in immune responses that damage multiple tissues and organ systems, often with devastating results. Complex differences in patient genetics and immune function at the cellular level make developing new treatments particularly challenging and complicate patient care. However, many autoimmune diseases share common inflammatory pathways, comorbidity risks, and even responses to disease-modifying therapies. Better tools to define and map these shared and unique immune cell interactions and pathways are critical for the design of new targets and interventions.

Over the past seven years, the AMP RA/SLE Program has pioneered a transformational model to dissect how these diseases occur at the individual cell level. This program has advanced new technologies and analytical methods using biopsy and blood samples of diseased tissue from major organs like the kidney in lupus and the joints in arthritis. These technologies allow us to discover novel cell populations and pathways that could provide promising new targets for drug development. AMP AIM will extend this model to the study of additional diseases, including psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis and Sjögren’s disease.

AMP AIM is the latest initiative to emerge from the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) Program, a public-private collaboration among the NIH, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the pharmaceutical industry, and patient organizations to speed drug development across different diseases. AMP AIM brings together the resources of 17 partner organizations spanning the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, with combined commitments totaling over $58.5 million. The FNIH will provide program and project management for the effort over the next five years.

“The promise of AMP AIM’s approach extends beyond any specific disease,” said David Wholley, President and Executive Director of the FNIH. “The use of next-generation technologies to interrogate the critical tissues involved in these immune disorders has exciting implications for many other diseases—a major advance in the science that would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of  public and private sector partners working together.”

NIH Institutes and Centers involved include:

  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
  • Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)

Private partners include:

  • AbbVie
  • Bristol Myers Squibb
  • GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK)
  • Janssen Research & Development, LLC
  • Lupus Foundation of America
  • Lupus Research Alliance
  • National Psoriasis Foundation
  • Novartis Pharma AG
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Sanofi
  • Sjögren’s Foundation
  • The Arthritis Foundation, Inc.
  • UCB

About AMP: AMP AIM joins other AMP programs expediting discovery around Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Schizophrenia, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, Type II Diabetes, Common Metabolic Diseases, and the Bespoke Gene Therapy Consortium, all coordinated by the FNIH since the 2014 launch of the large-scale initiative. The AMP partnerships use cutting-edge scientific approaches to bring new medicines to patients by enhancing validation of novel, clinically relevant therapeutic targets and biomarkers. To learn more about AMP, visit

About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health: The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the NIH. The FNIH works with its partners to accelerate biomedical research and strategies against diseases and health concerns in the United States and across the globe. Established by Congress in 1990, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about the FNIH, please visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

ACCELERATING MEDICINES PARTNERSHIP and AMP are registered service marks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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