Lausanne, Switzerland, August 22, 2008 – Debiopharm Group (Debiopharm), a global independent biopharmaceutical development specialist in oncology and serious medical conditions, yesterday presented the ‘Debiopharm Life Sciences Award’ to Spanish scientist Dr Manel Esteller for his outstanding research in both basic and translational epigenetic oncology research. Funded by Debiopharm, the ceremony took place at the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) during a Symposium on “Cancer and the Cell Cycle” organised by ISREC (the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research), an institute of the EPFL Life Sciences Faculty. Dr Esteller and his institute received CHF 100’000.
“We are delighted to present Dr Esteller with this award. His work is not only important in terms of fundamental research, but it may lead to the development of new potential therapeutic avenues to fight cancer,” said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President of Debiopharm Group.
“Epigenetics is a new frontier in cancer investigation. We salute both Debiopharm’s vision in rewarding an outstanding individual and its’ longstanding support for ground-breaking basic and translational research,” added Didier Trono, Dean of the Life Sciences Faculty at the EPFL.
“I feel honored by the Debiopharm Life Sciences Award. It encourages us to continue our research on the epigenetic causes of human cancer and, based on this knowledge, the development of new drugs to treat the disease. It also recognises the field of Epigenetics as an emerging scientific area in biomedical sciences,” explained Manel Esteller.
Dr. Esteller is Group Leader of the Epigenetics Laboratory at the Spanish National Cancer Center (CNIO) in Madrid, Spain where he works on the epigenetics of cancer. The field of epigenetics refers to changes in gene expression that are stable between cell divisions, and sometimes between generations, but do not involve changes in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism. Dr. Esteller focuses on alterations in DNA methylation, histone modifications in tumour suppressor genes, epigenetic interactions with non-coding RNA and chromatin in cancer cells. In addition, his work translates into the testing of new drugs for cancer therapy. He has made major contributions to the field of epigenetics, an area of research which has been receiving growing attention from the international biomedical research community. He has received numerous awards and is the author of more than two-hundred original peer-reviewed manuscripts in biomedical Sciences.
About the Debiopharm Life Sciences Award
The Award was set up to mentor and motivate young innovative European researchers in the field of life sciences. Criteria for applications include novelty and originality of the work, as well as its importance and significance in connection with targeted therapeutic fields.
In June, Debiopharm presented the ‘Debiopharm/Valais Life Sciences Award’ aimed to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. On October 29, the Company will present the ‘JCA-Mauvernay Award 2008’ in Japan.
About Debiopharm Group
Debiopharm Group is a global biopharmaceutical development specialist that in-licenses promising biologics and small molecule drug candidates. Debiopharm develops its products for global registration and maximum commercial potential for out-licensing to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing.
Debiopharm independently funds the worldwide development of all of its products while providing expertise in pre-clinical and clinical trials, manufacturing, drug delivery and formulation, and regulatory affairs.
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Debiopharm has developed three products with global combined sales in excess of $2.65 billion in 2007.
For more information on Debiopharm Group, please visit: www.debiopharm.com.