Top European University students selected to attend pioneering Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp

Two Slovenian young researchers at Novartis BioCamp

  • Novartis offers select University students hands-on experience with the multifaceted world of biotechnology and direct contact with experts in the field
  • Each year, the program trains Masters, Ph.D. and postdoctoral students from across Europe, bringing the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry closer to young talent
  • Novartis also supports industry innovation with direct funding of start-up biotech companies through the Novartis Venture Fund
28. 8. 2008

Leading biotechnology experts and 45 selected students from top European universities gathered today at the Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp, or BioCamp, to interact and learn about global trends in biotechnology. BioCamp is an innovative three-day seminar that offers students real-world experience with the dynamic and rapidly evolving world of biotechnology.

“BioCamp is just one example of the Novartis commitment to supporting excellence in scientific education and innovation in research and development,” said Dr. Daniel Vasella, CEO Novartis. “As part of our USD 6.4 billion investment in R&D, this program allows us to build connections between the biotech industry and up-and-coming talent from leading universities. We believe this fuels the ongoing interaction and fresh-thinking required to develop new medicines.”

The kick-off day included keynote speakers such as Dr. Vasella, who discussed trends in the global pharmaceutical industry. Paul Herrling, Ph.D., Head of Corporate Research at Novartis, spoke on innovation in biotechnology and the future of new medicines. Dr. Jan de Vries, Head of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) in Basel, presented on drug discovery at Novartis. And Professor Martin E. Schwab, Chair of Neuroscience, Brain Research Institute at the University of Zurich, discussed new developments in neuroscience and their impact on academia and the industry.

Two Slovenian researchers and doctoral candidates were selected to attend the second Novartis BioCamp: Ljerka Lah, a young researcher in the Biosynthesis and Biotransformation Laboratory at the National Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana, who is currently pursuing a doctorate in biomedicine, and Nina Kočevar, a young researcher at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana.

At BioCamp the young scientists participate in lectures and panel discussions on trends in biotechnology led by leading scientists and managers. By visiting biotechnology production facilities at the Novartis Center of Biotechnology in Huningue, France and the new research labs at the Novartis Campus in Basel, the students will receive first-hand experience on developing a biotechnology product. They will also have the opportunity to learn about careers in the biotechnology industry and academia.

Two participants at the global BioCamp in Hong Kong

With the help of professionals the BioCamp participants will compete in workshops for the best business plan for transferring biotechnology into real life, i.e. industry. The two top students from the Novartis European BioCamp will be selected to participate at the global BioCamp on October 24-27, 2008 in Hong Kong, where 40 students from all over the world will come together to fuel further learning, discussion and interaction about global leadership, innovation and career paths in biotechnology.

Biopharmaceuticals at Lek

Biopharmaceuticals is the most modern and fastest-growing branch of pharmacy. At Lek, in-house development of genetic technology began in the nineteen-eighties. Last year the Biopharmaceuticals Development Center was opened in Menges, which represents a major step into the future. To date, nearly 40 million euros have been invested at Lek, with the first phase of the Biopharmaceuticals Development Center in Menges accounting for almost 7 million euros, which was followed by investments in laboratory equipment for upgrading the pilot development capacities. The Biopharmaceuticals Development Center is also a significant recognition of Slovenian expertise. Lek is directly involved in Slovenian R&D activities in various fields and works closely with universities and research institutes.

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the pillars of leading world generics company Sandoz. It operates as a global development center for products and technologies, as a global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines, as a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products, as a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biosimilars and as a supply center for the markets of CEE, SEE and CIS, sales Slovenia and sales services for Sandoz global markets. Lek d.d. employs more than 3,000 people. For further information please consult

Sandoz, a Division of the Novartis group, is a global leader in the field of generic pharmaceuticals, offering a wide array of high-quality, affordable products that are no longer protected by patents. Sandoz has a portfolio of more than 950 compounds and sells its products in more than 130 countries. Key product groups include antibiotics, treatments for central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal medicines, cardiovascular treatments and hormone therapies. Sandoz develops, produces and markets these medicines along with pharmaceutical and biotechnological active substances and anti-infectives. In addition to strong organic growth in recent years, Sandoz has made a series of acquisitions including Lek (Slovenia), Sabex (Canada), Hexal (Germany) and EonLabs (US) In 2007, Sandoz employed around 23,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 7.2 billion.

Novartis AG provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on growth areas in healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2007, the Group’s continuing operations (excluding divestments in 2007) achieved net sales of USD 38.1 billion and net income of USD 6.5 billion. Approximately USD 6.4 billion was invested in R&D activities throughout
the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 98,200 full-time associates and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

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This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.

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For further information contact:

Katarina Klemenc Dinjaški

Corporate Communications

Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.

Phone: + 386 1 580 22 43

Fax: + 386 1 580 24 32