Regional BioCamp 2012 on contemporary approaches in cancer diagnostics and therapy, and neglected diseases
From 20–22 May 2012, Lek, a Sandoz company, will once again host 35 selected top and most promising undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate science students from the Alpe-Adria region at the second Regional BioCamp 2012, held in Ljubljana. This year, with a common denominator of commitment to broadening access to healthcare, two areas of medical science have been connected: contemporary approaches in cancer diagnostics and therapy and the development of medicinal products for rare diseases.
»Key topics for this year’s BioCamp are contemporary trends in cancer diagnostics and therapy, and development of drugs for the treatment of rare, under-researched diseases. With these topics we will make a step forward, meeting patients’ needs and highlighting the fulfilment of Sandoz mission to provide broader access to the most advanced therapies through the development of generic and biosimilar products,« stressed prof. dr. Uroš Urleb, Chief Scientific Officer at Sandoz.
The most advanced therapies that are based also on biological medicines are extremely expensive or not available at all, therefore Sandoz by developing and producing affordable biosimilars strives to increase access to advanced therapies. Novartis as a leading company in the field of research and development of drugs for rare diseases endeavours to address also the most specific needs of patients.
Trends in cancer diagnostics and therapy
»Cancer is a systemic disease, commonly with micro-metastases already present at the time of the diagnosis, therefore eradication of all cancerous cells requires efficient systemic therapy with medicines which reach all parts of the body. Advanced systemic therapy includes, among others, also target drugs, together with biological drugs and biosimilars that act specifically on molecules which are only produced within cancer cells, as well as immunomodulators, compounds that mimic, enhance, induce, inhibit or in any other way change the response of the host to cancerous disease,« said dr. Simona Borštnar from the Division of Medical Oncology at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana and a lecturer at the Regional BioCamp 2012, in summarising the importance of medicines in the treatment of cancer.
Development of novel, more advanced and efficient medicines for cancer treatment is of major importance, and an important part in the process of treatment are patients. »Long gone are times when patients were completely passive and would silently and without questioning accept treatment as determined by a doctor. Modern society with the proliferation of information technology has turned the previously passive patient into an active one. He/she wants to know more about their disease and take an active part in making decisions about choice of treatment, and in particular expects and hopes that scientists will develop even more effective medicines which will enable longer survival and better quality of life for patients with cancer,« stressed dr. Mojca Senčar, president of Europa Donna association and a lecturer at the Regional BioCamp 2012.
The Regional BioCamp for top students
The Regional BioCamp is a unique event in Slovenia, connecting science and industry and opening the door to new knowledge and innovative thinking for the future. It offers an excellent opportunity for students – outstanding young talents, to meet top experts and leading managers and at the same time to show their own knowledge and potential, thus opening doors to their future careers.
»The current regional BioCamp in Slovenia gives young scientists a unique opportunity to receive first-hand experience in research and development within the pharmaceutical industry, to gain insight into biopharmacy and the development of the most advanced therapies, gain insight into the international business environment and, most of all, gain better understanding of potential career opportunities. Such an event at the same time clearly shows how much effort, knowledge and collaboration between top academic research and industry, and not least the patients, it is necessary to invest in the process of development of a new drug, to achieve optimal results,« highlighted prof. dr. Boris Turk, Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Structural Biology at the Jožef Stefan Institute and a lecturer at the Regional BioCamp 2012.
By the application deadline, 88 students had applied to take part at the Regional BioCamp 2012, half of them from Slovenia (41) and half from abroad (47). The majority of applications received this year are from doctoral students (as many as 41), followed by graduates (25), postgraduates (19) and postdoctoral (3) students.
»We are extremely pleased with the response to our invitation to participate and the total number of applications. These applications confirm that the Regional BioCamp is intended for truly the best students, which has become more evident even to the candidates themselves as the proportion of doctoral students has significantly increased. We have also been made aware of this by some professors who had this year especially carefully selected their top students to whom they advised to apply and gave them recommendations,« explained dr. Darja Ferčej Temeljotov, Head of Continuous Improvement at Sandoz’ Development Centre Slovenia and the Chair of the organising committee of Regional BioCamp 2012.
An important part of the Regional BioCamp for the participants is undoubtedly also winning the competitive part of the event. Here, the participants will work in teams and elaborate a case study where they will have an opportunity to test their skills for applying theoretically gained knowledge to practice. Two winners will take part at the traditional Novartis global BioCamp 2012, which will be held at the end of August in Basel, Switzerland.
Since 2004, when it first started, the BioCamp has developed into an international forum of top science and business students from around the world to learn, exchange ideas and work together in a highly competitive business environment. The international BioCamp has been hosted at Novartis global headquarters as well as in other countries and regions such as USA, India, Egypt and Italy. In the last eight years, Novartis BioCamp offered insight into the biopharmaceutical industry and business to more than 600 top students from all over the world, including some from Slovenia.
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 http://www.lek.si/eng/.
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 2011, Sandoz employed more than 24,000 people (full-time equivalents) worldwide and achieved net sales of USD 9.5 billion for the full year. For more information, please visit www.sandoz.com.
Sandoz is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Sandoz_global at http://twitter.com/sandoz.
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2011, the Group’s continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 58.6 billion, while approximately USD 9.6 billion (USD 9.2 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 124,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit www.novartis.com.
Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis at http://twitter.com/novartis.
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.
For additional information contact:
Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.
Phone: +386 1 580 22 43
Fax: +386 1 580 24 32