Debiopharm reinforces the bond between Swiss and Japanese cancer research with the 2022 JCA-Mauvernay Award Ceremony

Debiopharm awards the winning scientists for the JCA (Japanese Cancer Association) Award for innovative, disruptive, and translational oncology research

Lausanne, Switzerland – October 3rd, 2022 – Debiopharm (, a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical company, today announced the two winners of JCA Mauvernay Award for breakthrough Japanese oncology research projects in 2 categories: Innovative and/or Disruptive Research – Dr. Akihide Yoshimi and for Translational Research – Prof. Mamiko Sakata-Yanagimoto. The winners were honored with trophies and a monetary prize during the live event of the 81st Annual Meeting of the Japanese Cancer Association (JCA) on Saturday, October 1st in Yokohama, Japan by Prof. Hideyuki Saya President of the JCA and Thierry Mauvernay, President of Debiopharm, and Bertrand Ducrey, CEO of Debiopharm.

“Japan and Switzerland share a variety of similar values such as commitment to excellence and professional diligence. With these values, we can maximize the chances that the next generation of drugs could result from collaboration between these two countries.” expressed Thierry Mauvernay, President of Debiopharm. “Together with the JCA, Debiopharm hopes to encourage young scientists such as Drs Yoshimi and Sakata-Yanagimoto, to transfer their innovative research to the clinic and to the benefit of worldwide patients rapidly.”

“The previous winners of the Mauvernay Award have immediately become very well-known scientists in our country, becoming professors and leaders in significant institutes. Therefore, I would say that the Mauvernay Award is definitely a huge step for young cancer research scientists in our country.” stated Prof. Hideyuki Saya, President of the JCA.

Dr. Akihide Yoshimi’s disruptive research at the National Cancer Center Research Institute, is aimed at understanding and targeting aberrant RNA splicing in hematological malignancies. He has contributed to the discovery of aberrant events in this process in tumor cells, identified key alterations in several splicing factors (SF) and provided insights into aberrant splicing and its association with key oncogenes (such as isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) and myelocytomatosis (Myc)). This work within an emerging field could have important biological as well as therapeutic implications for patient with SF mutant hematologic malignancies (e.g. in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)).

Prof. Mamiko Sakata-Yanagimoto’s translational research at the Medicine Faculty of the University of Tsukuba is offering new insights into targeting intractable lymphomas with an elegant application of gene expression analysis in the aggressive angioimmunoblastic lymphoma (AITL). Her research started with the characterization of sequence of events between TET2 and RHOA mutations in the AITL patient samples (now included in the diagnostic criteria), continued with the identification of new actionable targets in the disease (RHOA/Vav1) and is currently focused on testing in the clinic therapeutic options using dasatinib to treat those patients.

The JCA-Mauvernay Award

Since 2005, the Japanese Cancer Association (JCA) and Debiopharm have co-organized the ‘JCA-Mauvernay Award‘. This prize illustrates the curiosity that drives researchers as well as the scientific cooperation between Japan and Switzerland. It aims to recognize the outstanding achievements in the field of oncology amongst Japanese researchers, in both the fundamental and the clinical aspects. The award has a total value of CHF 25’000.

Debiopharm’s commitment to patients

Debiopharm develops innovative therapies that target high unmet medical needs in oncology and infectious diseases. Bridging the gap between disruptive discovery products and real-world patient reach, we identify high-potential compounds and technologies for in-licensing, clinically demonstrate their safety and efficacy and then select large pharmaceutical commercialization partners to maximize patient access globally.

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