Debiopharm Group presents the ‘Debiopharm Group Life Sciences Award 2012’ And two ‘Junior Debiopharm Group Life Sciences Awards 2012’ During the annual EPFL SV- Life Science Symposium

Lausanne, Switzerland – August 30, 2012 – Debiopharm Group™ (Debiopharm), a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical needs and companion diagnostics, today presents the ‘Debiopharm Group™ Life Sciences Award 2012’ in collaboration with EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) to Professor Daniel D. Pinschewer for his outstanding research in the field of Infectious Diseases and Immunology. Furthermore, Doctors Daan Noordermeer and Kelly Tan each receive a ‘Junior Debiopharm Group™ Life Sciences Award 2012’ for their research in the field of Cellular and Molecular Biology. Organised by the Global Health Institute (GHI), the ceremony is taking place at the EPFL during the Annual EPFL SV- Life Science Symposium 2012 on the theme ‘Global Health meets Infection Biology’.
The ‘Debiopharm Group™ Life Sciences Award 2012’ honours Professor Daniel D. Pinschewer of the department of Pathology and Immunology, University of Geneva Medical School. As one of the most promising scientists in the field of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, his research bridges cutting-edge molecular virology, cellular and molecular immunology to investigate the immune control and pathogenesis of viral infection and vaccination. The award amounts to CHF 50’000 of which CHF 40’000 are made available to support the prize winner’s research through his home institute, whilst CHF 10’000 are given to the winner for personal use.

The two ‘Junior Debiopharm Group™ Life Sciences Awards’ are granted to Doctors Daan Noordermeer from the laboratory of Professor Denis Duboule, EPFL, and Kelly Tan from the laboratory of Professor Christian Lüscher, University of Geneva Medical School. The two scientists receive CHF 25’000 each, of which CHF 20’000 go to their respective institutes and CHF 5’000 are for their personal use. The junior awards are destined to young researchers in Switzerland, in the wider field of cellular and molecular biology. They are ideally at the stage of late postdoctoral studies or launching an independent research group. The selection criteria are based on excellence in previous work and originality of future projects.

“We wish these three brilliant and well published scientists all the best for their future,” said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President and founder of Debiopharm Group™. “The innovation and quality of their work made it easy for the jury to reach a unanimous decision. Their findings have brought us one step closer to the development of novel therapeutics.”

Professor Daniel D. Pinschewer
Professor Pinschewer’s work demonstrated the key importance of ‘damage-associated molecular patterns’ (damage of our own body’s cells) in driving protective antiviral CD8+ cell responses. These findings have a lot of potential for refined vaccination strategies. (Science. 2012 Feb 24;335(6071):984-9). His work also focused on the recombinant lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (rLCMV), perceived as the most promising novel platform technologies to advance global health vaccination efforts against tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis C. And he studied the role of antibody responses in resolving chronic viral infection.

Doctor Daan Noordermeer
Dr Noordermeer’s work at the EPFL has focused on understanding the three dimensional organisation of the genome in the nucleus of the eukaryotic cells where the genetic material is carried. He was able to identify active versus non-active clusters in the genome. The techniques developed by Dr Noordermeer could be helpful in better understanding the mode of action of the epigenetic cancer therapies, which is currently not fully understood, and to eventually monitor patients’ response.

Doctor Kelly Tan
During her post-doctoral studies at the University of Geneva, Dr Tan used a variety of very innovative techniques, including optogenetic manipulation to dissect the neural basis for the addictive properties of benzodiazepines, known to trigger physical dependence after long-term use. Her research could lead to the development of novel compounds with less addictive profiles.

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, as well as 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. Debiopharm is also active in the field of companion diagnostics with a view to progressing in the area of personalised 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.
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