The winners of the Regional BioCamp 2015

  • Lek, a Sandoz company, successfully concluded its fifth top scientific event for the most promising science students from the region – Regional BioCamp 2015.
  • Experts from Sandoz, Novartis and the Slovenian academic sphere spoke about trends and innovations in the pharmaceutical industry and the central theme – new strategies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
  • The winners of the Regional BioCamp 2015 are Žiga Perko and Julian Kellner, who will participate in the Novartis global BioCamp in Basel in August.
20. 5. 2015

Yesterday evening, Lek, a Sandoz company, concluded the Regional BioCamp 2015 with the announcement of the winners. Among the 35 most promising science students from the region, Žiga Perko and Julian Kellner showed the best individual performance in preparing a case study and transferring the acquired knowledge into practical work. Both winners will participate in the Novartis global BioCamp 2015 in Basel in Switzerland in August. Laura Avogaro, Andonela Janeva, Zlatko Joncev, Julian Kellner, Daniela Milosheska, Janja Mirtič in Omar Naneh proved themselves as the best performing team.

Patients are at the heart of the modern pharmaceutical industry, a principle which also served as a guide for the selection of this year’s theme. At this year’s Regional BioCamp, leading experts from Sandoz, Novartis and the Slovenian academic sphere discussed new strategies for the treatment of autoimmune disease, with a focus on rheumatoid arthritis, the most common autoimmune disease.

»Rheumatoid arthritis used to be a disease with severe consequences and had a major impact on patients’ lives which is also evidenced by many shocking photographs of patients with severely deformed joints. In recent years, we have adopted a different approach to treatment. The key is a combination of early diagnosis, fast introduction of immunomodulation therapy, regular monitoring of disease activity and tracking treatment progress towards the goal – remission or low disease activity. Therefore, the disease is now generally very manageable and no longer constitutes a major obstacle in patients’ lives. This approach brings good results also in Slovenia. Therefore I am convinced that in 20 to 30 years’ time we will no longer see photographs with such severely deformed joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis,« said prof. dr. Matija Tomšič, Head of Clinical Department of Rheumatology at the University Medical Center Ljubljana.

A patient’s view on rheumatoid arthritis treatment options was presented by Aladar Belec, who developed rheumatoid arthritis at the age of two-and-a half years. »I have been living with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) that significantly marked my life, since very early childhood. Throughout the years it occurred unexpectedly and after the joint effort of doctors, physiotherapists, the family and I, the disease subsided more or less to the extent where it was possible to live a more or less normal life. After many hospitalisations throughout these years, after surgeries, replacement of both hips and various therapies, after weeks and months when I could not move and lived in pain, when no essential therapy worked any more, the doctors finally found a therapy with a biological medicine that suits me and almost completely subdues the disease and therefore helps me to live my life to the full now. I am grateful for every morning when I can get up without help and have only minimal pain and I am glad that I can contribute more to my family life, at work and in the Rheumatic Association of Slovenia.«

The case study stirred innovation of the participants

»The Regional BioCamp once again brought together young talents and top experts and offered them an insight into the pharmaceutical industry and related entrepreneurship. They were impressed by the work in our development units and we were impressed as well when observing them during preparation and presentation of a case study where they demonstrated a truly exceptional degree of innovation,« said Dr. Darja Ferčej Temeljotov, Head of continuous improvements at Sandoz Development Center Slovenia and the president of the organising committee of the Regional BioCamp 2015.

The participants of the Regional BioCamp 2015 had the opportunity to actively participate and challenge themselves through teamwork in the preparation of the case study as well as transferring the acquired knowledge in their practical work. The selection of the best two individuals and the best team was based on the participant’s collaboration in a team task involving elaboration and presentation of a case study on the topic of rheumatoid arthritis.

The winners are to participate in the global BioCamp in Basel

According to the panel’s opinion, when designing the case study, the winners of the Regional BioCamp 2015, Žiga Perko and Julian Kellner, proved themselves to be the best among all participants when combining a scientific and business way of thinking which are both of the utmost importance in order to succeed in pharmacy.

Žiga Perko from Oxford University, United Kingdom, commented on his win: »I did not expect to win the award as I was not quite sure what the panel members were looking for. I think the winning combination was my style of leading which is not aimed at limiting ideas but guiding in the right direction. Working in teams was a great experience because each of us comes from a different background and has different knowledge which additionally contributed to our success. The whole event was very successful, I enjoyed it and I was pleased to get an insight into the operation of a pharmaceutical company. It is difficult to gain such knowledge at the university therefore I appreciate even more that I was selected to be among the participants of this event and even win in the end.«

»I am very pleased that I won. The teamwork was very intense, we worked hard to achieve a good result, as we come from different backgrounds and we had different opinions. However, in the end we succeeded. I believe a good presentation of our business plan contributed to my success, although we did not know exactly what the expectations of the panel were. The whole event was exceptional and very inspiring, but also very strenuous. However, we all enjoyed ourselves and obtained useful knowledge at the same time,« said Julian Kellner from Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Germany on his win.

The Regional BioCamp 2015 hosted university students from 13 countries: Slovenia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia, Germany, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Great Britain.

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of key pillars of the second-largest generic pharmaceutical company globally. Its role within Sandoz is to act as: a leading global development center for technologically demanding 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 Novartis, is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals, driving sustainable access to high-quality healthcare. Sandoz employs more than 26,000 people worldwide and supplies a broad range of affordable products to patients and customers around the globe.
The Sandoz global portfolio comprises approximately 1,100 molecules, which accounted for 2014 sales of USD 9.6 billion. Sandoz holds the global #1 position in biosimilars as well as in generic anti-infectives, ophthalmics and transplantation medicines. Sandoz also holds leading global positions in key therapeutic areas ranging from generic injectables, dermatology and respiratory to cardiovascular, metabolism, central nervous system, pain and gastrointestinal.
Sandoz develops, produces and markets finished dosage form (FDF) medicines as well as intermediary products including active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and biotechnological substances. Nearly half of the Sandoz portfolio is in differentiated products – medicines that are scientifically more difficult to develop and manufacture than standard generics.
In addition to strong organic growth since consolidating its generics businesses under the Sandoz brand name in 2003, Sandoz has consistently driven growth in selected geographies and differentiated product areas through a series of targeted acquisitions, including Hexal (Germany), EBEWE Pharma (Austria), and Fougera Pharmaceuticals (US).
Sandoz is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Sandoz_global at

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 over-the-counter products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2014, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58.0 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 120,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 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 additional information contact:
Katarina Klemenc
Corporate Communications
Lek Pharmaceuticals d. d.
Phone: +386 1 580 22 43
Fax: +386 1 580 24 32