Novartis unveils Lab of Future concept to top European students at Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp)

  • BioCamp gives 45 University students from 17 European countries direct access to science and business leaders for insights into entrepreneurial world of biotechnology and drug discovery
  • Lab of the Future (LOTF) reshaping Novartis research environment to further support a culture of innovation and drug discovery
  • LOTF and BioCamp demonstrate how the Novartis environment facilitates rapid scientific exchange and innovation that fosters top research talent
24. 8. 2009

Today, Novartis highlighted its ongoing commitment to fostering research and innovation at the 2009 Novartis European Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp), with the unveiling of its Lab of The Future (LOTF) concept. LOTF is a global Novartis initiative to create state-of-the-art laboratories comprising flexible work spaces, modular furniture to meet changing team needs, and cutting edge technology to support communication, interdisciplinary collaboration, and enhanced innovation in Novartis research.

“Drug discovery evolves rapidly as new technologies and insights into biology modify the scientific approaches,” explained Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis. “The Lab of the Future, with its modular design and flexibility, equally allows us to rapidly adopt new research tools and foster interdisciplinary work to solve research challenges.”

During the three-day BioCamp program, 45 students selected from leading European universities will get hands-on exposure to the entrepreneurial world of biotechnology. Participants will interact with and learn from biotechnology industry experts, exchanging ideas on advancing innovation in research and discovery. They will also have opportunities to participate in high-level workshops; receive first-hand experience on developing a biotech product with a visit to the Novartis Center of Biotechnology which produces innovative biologic medicines; visit laboratories, including Lab of the Future, to see how research is evolving; and explore career opportunities.

The visionary LOTF lab environment supports the unique Novartis R&D model by further dissolving the typical divide among the scientific disciplines involved in drug discovery. For example, biologists, clinicians, toxicologists and chemists, are historically separated by organizational structure and often in separate areas. Now the core team members will work side-by-side in the LOTF. Furthermore, integrated technology and innovative communications tools will allow scientists to work together both in real and virtual space.

“Traditionally, scientists have been separated by their respective areas of expertise,” said Mark Fishman, President of Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. “However, the research approach at Novartis, driven by patient needs and understanding the basis of disease, requires that these boundaries disappear to create small, tightly-knit multi-disciplinary teams. These teams promote idea exchange and drive innovation.”

Workshops and presentations will be led by industry experts including Dr. Daniel Vasella; Dr. Mark Fishman, President Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR); Mark Heffernan, Ph.D, CEO of OSPONA Theraputics Ltd. and Prof. Paul Herrling, head of Novartis Corporate Research.

Top-level Slovenian expertise

Saša Jereb, a biochemistry student at the University of Ljubljana , has been selected to participate at the third annual Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp). Last year two students from Slovenia, Ljerka Lah, a Junior Researcher at the Biosynthesis and Biotransformation Laboratory at the National Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana and Nina Kočevar, a Junior Researcher at the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine, participated in this interesting event, once again demonstrating that Slovenia has exceptional scientists and junior researchers – Ms Lah was one of the two winners of last year’s Novartis European BioCamp and also participated in the International BioCamp, which was held from 24 to 27 October 2008 in Hong Kong, and was attended by students from all over the world.

Biopharmaceuticals at Lek

Biopharmaceuticals is the newest and fastest-growing branch of pharmacy. Lek’s in-house development of genetic technologies began as early as the nineteen eighties. In October 2007 the Biopharmaceuticals Development Center was opened in Menges, which represents a major step towards the future. Lek has invested a total of nearly 50 million euros in biopharmaceuticals, of which 7 million euros were invested in the first phase of the construction of the Development Center in Menges, where development continued last year with investments in equipment for the laboratories for expanding pilot development capacities. The Biopharmaceuticals Development Center also represents a significant recognition of Slovenian expertise. Lek is strongly involved in the Slovenian research and development field in numerous areas and continually works closely with universities and research institutions.

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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 biosimilar products and as a supply center for the markets of CEE, SEE and CIS, sales Slovenia and sales services for Sandoz global markets. For further information please visit

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 approximately 1000 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 Eon Labs (US). In 2008, Sandoz employed around 23,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 7.6 billion. For further information please visit

Novartis AG provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2008, the Group’s continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 41.5 billion and net income of USD 8.2 billion. Approximately USD 7.2 billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 96,700 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 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