Two New Tenants for EPFL’s Innovation Square

Two pharmaceutical and data-processing leaders, Debiopharm Group™ (Switzerland) and Cisco (USA) are coming to the EPFL’s Innovation Square. This novel structure, at the interface where the entrepreneurial world and scientific institutions meet, is an unqualified success despite the sluggish economic environment.

Lausanne, Switzerland – April 26th, 2010 – Two of industry’s big names have officially announced their impending arrival in the EPFL’s Innovation Square. Debiopharm Group™ (“Debiopharm”), headquartered in Lausanne, is a global biopharmaceutical group company known worldwide, especially for developing innovative cancer treatments. Cisco, an American firm, is an international leader in data processing networks. In October 2010, Debiopharm and Cisco will occupy 400 m2 and 800 m2, respectively, of office and laboratory space. More than 60 engineers and researchers from he two companies will move to the EPFL campus.

Adrienne Corboud Fumagalli, the EPFL’s Vice-President for Innovation and Technology Transfer, is responsible for promoting Innovation Square. She expects to make it a place where scientists and industrialists can build relationships and feed their creativity. “These two worlds do not naturally associate with each other. Innovation Square provides more opportunities for them to interact,” she explains. Geographic proximity as a stimulus for cooperation; such is the EPFL’s gamble. “The roles should be clearly separated. Research and discovery are up to the universities, development and marketing belong to the industries.”

Debiopharm, Molecular Designer and a bridge between discovery and the market
Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, Debiopharm’s President, considers that “this agreement reflects Debiopharm’s deep roots in the Lausanne region. The EPFL is behind many major scientific advances and cannot help but stimulate companies in the Lake Geneva basin.” This is not Debiopharm’s first collaboration with the EPFL. It has endowed a chair there and awards an annual science prize, both of which bear its name. The Vaud company actively works with research teams at the school to develop new molecules.

Cisco, Internet and Video Applications 
Cisco is a new arrival at the EPFL. The initiative itself is also something novel for the American giant, and gives it its very first branch at a university. “This kind of presence is a key example of closer cooperation between science and industry,” explains Eric Waltert, the CEO of Cisco Suisse. “Our approach reiterates Cisco’s strategic commitment to Switzerland and specifically to Vaud. In this way, we will speed up the development of products and solutions that are important to Switzerland, such as Fiber-To-The-Home or TelePresence, our immersive collaboration technology.”

The arrival of Debiopharm and Cisco strengthens Innovation Square. Even before the opening of the first building, which is planned for this summer, three big names of industry have already answered the roll call, Logitech having already announced in 2009 that it was coming. Adrienne Corboud Fumagalli believes that Innovation Square will improve development of researchers’ work. “Businesses know how to recognize an idea’s potential. By having them close by, we will avoid having certain brilliant discoveries end up in the middle of a pile of papers or a graveyard of industrial prototypes.”

About Debiopharm Group™ 
Debiopharm Group™ (Debiopharm) is a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical needs. The group in-licenses, develops and/or co-develops promising biological and small molecule drug candidates having reached clinical development phases I, II or III. Debiopharm is also prepared to consider earlier stage candidates. It develops its products for global registration and maximum commercial potential. The products are out-licensed to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing. Besides drug development, Debiopharm Group has recently embarked in the field of companion diagnostics with a view to progressing in the area of personalized medicine
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.
For more information on Debiopharm Group™, please visit: