Lausanne, Switzerland, October 11, 2004 — Debiopharm S.A., the independent drug-development company specialising in oncology, endocrinology, CNS and niche diseases today announced that both Dr Tyler J. Curiel, Chief, Section of Hematology and Medical Oncology and Dr Weiping Zou, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology and Medical Oncology, were honoured with the second Mauvernay Research Excellence Award for their outstanding oncology research work presented at the 2004 Mauvernay Research Excellence Seminar. The seminar took place on October 8, 2004 at the Tulane Cancer Center in New Orleans and was the second edition of a three year series to be held at Tulane University. The seminar was organised jointly by Tulane University and Debiopharm with the objective of facilitating an exchange forum between oncology scientists, clinicians and experts, together with Debiopharm. The company also sponsors the Mauvernay Research Excellence Fund, for the discovery of new therapeutic agents which can be used in cancer treatment.
Dr Curiel and Dr Zou each submitted an abstract on the following topics: “A Novel Reagent to Deplete Regulatory T Cells Improves Immunity and Enhances Tumor Clearance in Human Cancer” and “Identification of a Novel Imunotherapeutic Target in Patients with Ovarian Cancers.” Both scientists were given the opportunity to address the audience with a joint presentation of their research.
So far, immunotherapeutic efforts to induce anti-tumor immunity have proven disappointing in patients with cancer. The work of Dr Curiel and Dr Zou indicates that greater success may be achieved if clinicians could first disable a host cell, called regulatory T cell. In a normal situation, regulatory T cells primarily function in switching off an immune response so that it does not get out of control. Tumors have coopted this mechanism by recruiting these cells into tumor environment, and created a privileged environment for themselves. Dr Curiel and Dr Zou are now clinically removing these cells in patients with cancers. Their preliminary clinical trial demonstrates a significant immunological and clinical efficiency in the treated tumor patients.
Ten other Tulane faculty researchers were also recognized for their cutting-edge work. These include Asim B. Abdel-Mageed, D.V.M., Ph.D., Barbara S. Beckman, Ph.D., Matthew E. Burow, Ph.D., Srikanta Dash, Ph.D., Prescott Deininger, Ph.D., Erik Flemington, Ph.D., Timothy Hammond, M.D., Frank Jones, Ph.D., Laura S. Levy, Ph.D., Cindy A. Morris, Ph.D. All the awards were presented to the honorees by Professor Scott Cowen, President of Tulane University and Dr Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President and CEO of Debiopharm.
“I was honored to reward Dr Curiel and Dr Zou for their brilliant research performed at the Tulane Cancer Center,” said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President and CEO of Debiopharm. “It goes to show that perseverence is the key to success, as both scientists had already submitted their work last year. I hope that Debio and Tulane’s perseverence will lead to the development of more effective anti-cancer drugs and that we will continue to enjoy a longstanding relationship”.
About Debiopharm S.A.
Debiopharm, founded in 1979 in Lausanne, Switzerland, focuses on evaluating compounds with promising in-vivo results in animals, to in-license, develop for global registration, and out-license to sales and marketing pharmaceutical partners. Debiopharm’s major commercial successes to date are Eloxatin®, one of Sanofi-Aventis’ leading marketed products, Decapeptyl®, the leading product of Ipsen in Southern Europe, and Trelstar®, with combined sales estimated to be in excess of $1.8bn in 2004.
Debiopharm is one of an established group of three complementary companies, Debiopharm, Debio R.P. and Debioclinic, with a successful track record in developing, registering and out-licensing innovative therapeutics. Debio R.P. is a leader in polymer-based controlled release technologies that allow certain drugs like proteins, peptides and anti-cancers to be delivered in customised, sustained-release formulation. From its FDA-inspected manufacturing facility in Martigny, Switzerland, Debio R.P. also conducts feasibility studies, formulation selection, optimisation, scale-up and cGMP manufacturing from clinical trial supplies to commercial scale. Debioclinic is a contract research organisation, specialised in oncology and dedicated to clinical development, providing regulatory, biometric and clinical support in line with cGCP.
For more information on Debiopharm, please visit our website at www.debio.com
About Tulane University
Founded in 1834 as the Medical College of Louisiana, Tulane University is a private, non-sectarian research university with 11 schools and colleges. Located in New Orleans, Tulane offers undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in law, medicine, public health and tropical medicine, architecture, business, engineering, social work and the liberal arts and sciences. The University’s strength lies in its multidisciplinary approach to research. In keeping with the diversity of its missions—education, research and patient care—Tulane University Health Sciences Center continually is developing centers and programs of excellence, including the Center for Gene Therapy, Center for Infectious Diseases, Hayward Genetics Center, Hypertension and Renal Center, Center for Clinical Effectiveness and Prevention, Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, Center for Cardiovascular Health and the Tulane-Xavier National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.