Novartis International BioCamp spotlights how diversity spurs innovation across the company and inspires future science leaders

  • The interactive BioCamp program engages students around scientific advances and entrepreneurial opportunities
  • The eighth annual event brings 60 top university students from 24 countries and territories to Novartis headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
  • Novartis is an inclusive high-performance environment which values and leverages diversity to help create innovative solutions to meet patients’ unmet medical needs
29. 8. 2011

Ljubljana, August 29, 2011 – Today, Novartis opened its eighth annual International Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp), a three-day seminar bringing biotechnology and business experts together with 60 selected students from leading international universities in 24 countries and territories. This year, Novartis highlighted the growing role of diversity across the company to drive innovation in all aspects of the company including scientific research and development.

“Diversity and inclusion is a pivotal foundational stone of our core strategies. It is through diversity in people, cultures, thought and approach that leads to breakthrough medicines”, said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. “Our goal at Novartis, beyond creating next-generation medicines, is to educate and inspire the next generation of scientists – building the talent pool not only for Novartis, but leaders for the entire healthcare industry.”

At the first regional BioCamp Alpe-Adria (, which was held by Lek, a Sandoz company, from May 29 to 31, 2011 in Ljubljana with 35 of the most promising young science students from the Alpe-Adria region, the individual winners of the competition section of the three-day forum are Véronique Bos from Netherlands, who is studying at the Management Center Innsbruck in Austria, and Klemen Španinger from Slovenia, who is a phd student of biomedicine at the Faculty of Medicine in Ljubljana. Both winners will participate in the Novartis International Biotechnology Leadership Campus (BioCamp) 2011 in Basel, Switzerland.

The first Regional BioCamp Alpe-Adria in Ljubljana included undergraduate and graduate students from seven countries: 23 participants from Slovenia and 12 from abroad, including two each from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Austria and Italy. The Regional BioCamp Alpe-Adria 2011 was seen by both the speakers and the participants as an exceptionally good opportunity which builds on previous cooperation between science and industry.

International BioCamp participants interact with key Novartis scientists who lead the company’s unique approach to drug discovery and learn about breakthrough new medicines to address patients’ unmet medical needs. The interactive program is designed to help students understand trends and challenges in the biotechnology and life sciences sectors as well as receive first-hand experience about starting and running a biotech company. BioCamp also allows students to explore career opportunities in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and network with talented students from other countries.

“Innovation is enhanced by a diversity of opinions, perspectives and ideas from people with different cultural backgrounds and professional experiences. By fostering diversity in the Novartis workplace, we continue to strengthen a culture that is innovative, respectful and inclusive,” commented Colin Pillai, Head of the Diversity & Inclusion Office in Pharmaceuticals Development.

“Our scientific approach is open, entrepreneurial, and collegial fostering an environment that is unwilling to accept barriers or conventional wisdom. Advances in drug discovery and biomedical research increasingly require diverse, multicultural, cross-disciplinary and team-based approaches,” noted Dhavalkumar D. Patel, MD, Ph.D., Head of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) in Europe and Global Head of the Autoimmunity, Transplantation and Inflammation Disease Area.

Students will also visit some of the newest Novartis laboratory facilities. The visionary Novartis Campus in Basel fosters innovation and creativity with workspace that encourages collaboration and teamwork. The Campus Project includes 14 new research and office buildings that are already open and plans are underway for 4 additional buildings. Currently, over 7,000 associates work at the Novartis Campus. Ultimately, the site will provide a work environment for approximately 13,000 associates.

On the final day of the program, BioCamp participants, working in groups, will present business cases to a jury of experts. The jury will select three individual winners and one winning team based on their contribution, performance, leadership and teamwork. This year, participants for International BioCamp were chosen through an application process in 15 countries as well as through 9 local and regional BioCamp programs run in Bangladesh, India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Slovenia and Taiwan.

Workshops and presentations will be led by industry experts including Joseph Jimenez, Novartis CEO; Ann Fudge, Member of the Novartis Board of Directors; Juergen Brokatzky-Geiger, Ph.D., Head of Human Resources, Novartis; Dr. Dhavalkumar D. Patel, Head of NIBR Europe; Dr. Rino Rappuoli, Global Head of Research for Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics; Dr. Romeo Paioni, Head of Novartis Scientific and External Affairs, Novartis Pharmaceuticals; Prof. Susan Gasser, Director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research; Prof. Francis Waldvogel, Chairman of the Novartis Venture Fund, as well as Dr. Martin Horst, CEO and Board Member of MyoPowers.

About BioCamp
First started eight years ago in Taiwan, the BioCamp has developed into an international forum for science and business students from around the world to learn, exchange ideas and work together in a highly competitive business environment. Previously hosted in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Cambridge, Massachusetts, today’s seminar marks the second time International BioCamp is hosted at the state-of-the-art Novartis global headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the pillars of leading world generics company Sandoz. Its role within Sandoz is to act as: a global development center for products and technologies; a global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines; a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products; a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biosimilar products; and, a supply center for the markets of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), South East Europe (SEE) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and it is responsible for sales on the Slovenian market. 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 valid and enforceable third-party patents. Sandoz has a portfolio of approximately 1000 compounds and sells its products in about 130 countries. Key product groups include cardiovascular medicines, anti-infectives, treatments for central nervous system and alimentary tract disorders, oncology and respiratory therapies, as well as medications for blood and blood forming organ disorders. Sandoz develops, produces and markets these medicines along with pharmaceutical and biotechnological active substances. In addition to strong organic growth in recent years, Sandoz has made a series of acquisitions including Lek (Slovenia), Sabex (Canada), Hexal (Germany), Eon Labs (US), EBEWE Pharma (Austria), and Oriel Therapeutics (US). In 2010, Sandoz employed more than 23,000 people (full-time equivalents) worldwide and achieved net sales of USD 8,5 billion for the full year.

Novartis 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, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, consumer health products, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2010, the Group’s continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 50.6 billion, while approximately USD 9.1 billion (USD 8.1 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 119,000 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
Corporate Communications
Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.
Phone: + 386 1 580 22 43
Fax: + 386 1 580 24 32