The website and the sbv IMPROVER approach were initially developed in 2011-2013 by a team from Philip Morris International (PMI) Research and Development department and IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center on a collaborative research project funded by Philip Morris Products SA (PMPSA), a subsidiary of PMI.

The sbv IMPROVER project created strong methodological foundations and demonstrated that crowd sourcing is a viable strategy to verify scientific methods and concepts in an industrial context. The development phase of sbv IMPROVER came to a successful conclusion on 31 March 2014. As of 1 April 2014, this website reflects the end of the development phase and the site attribution was modified accordingly.


About Philip Morris International

PMI is the leading international tobacco company, with products sold in more than 180 markets. Developing products which may have the potential to reduce the risks of smoking-related diseases is one of our top priorities. A large part of our research is focused on understanding the underlying mechanisms of the diseases caused by combustible cigarette smoking. We are also developing innovative methods that will allow us to assess whether a new product is likely to reduce the risk of smoking-related diseases without waiting decades – the time that many smoking-related diseases take to develop. PMI believes that in the future systems biology may provide important information that will complement classical scientific methods, such as non-clinical and clinical studies in the assessment of new potentially reduced risk products.


Academic & Industry partners

The sbv IMPROVER project team is collaborating with a group of eminent scientists and subject matter experts from both academia and industry. This collaborative work group is defining and organizing a number of challenges since 2011. The sbv IMPROVER collaborative work group is underpinned by:


  • Dr. Leonidas G. Alexopoulos – National Technical University of Athens, Greece
  • Prof. Dr. Rudiyanto Gunawan – ETH Zurich
  • Prof. Dr. John Moult – University Maryland, USA
  • Prof. Dr. Torsten Schwede – University Basel, Switzerland
  • Dr. Tamir Tuller – Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Prof. Dr. Alfonso Valencia – Spanish National Bioinformatics Institute, Spain


  • Dr. Sam Ansari – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Mr. Jean Binder – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Dr. Stephanie Boue – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Dr. Dalia Cohen – ALN Associates
  • Dr. David de Graaf – Selventa, USA
  • Dr. Julia Hoeng – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Dr. Anita Iskandar – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Dr. Carole Mathis – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Prof. Dr. Manuel C. Peitsch – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Dr. Carine Poussin – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Mr. Lionel Schilli – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Dr. Marja Talikka – Philip Morris International R&D, Switzerland
  • Dr. Philip Zimmermann – Nebion AG, Switzerland 


The Challenges and this Site are operated by PMI primarily through the following entities:

  • Philip Morris Products, S.A., a corporation organized under the laws of Switzerland, with offices at Quai Jeanrenaud 5, 2000 Neuchatel, Switzerland. Philip Morris Products, S.A. is a subsidiary of Philip Morris International, Inc.


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