Helsinn Healthcare SA

Helsinn grant to the Institute of Research in Biomedicine, Bellinzona, Switzerland

Lugano (ots) - Helsinn, the chemical pharmaceutical group based in Lugano and Biasca is pleased to announce today that it has awarded a grant for the sum of CHF 30'000 to the Institute of Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Bellinzona, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Antonio Lanzavecchia. The grant will be used for research work performed by Prof. Markus Manz, in the field of haematopoesis, focused on the study in blood stem cells, the development and pathologies of the hemato-lymphoid system. "We believe that Prof. Manz's work will help to better understand the characteristics of certain diseases and therefore potentially develop targeted drugs", said Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn's Chief Executive Officer. Prof. Manz manages the IRB haematology laboratory and works as haematologist at the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland (IOSI). He has received the Artur Pappenheim award of the German society of Haematology and Oncology. The IRB researchers work to enhance the knowledge of the human immune system. In particular, host defense mechanisms against infective, neurodegenerative and cancer diseases are studied. The IRB researchers have developed several programmes which have the potential of being translated into new therapies. Prof. Manz and his colleagues have demonstrated that mice reconstituted with a human hemato-lymphatic system can be used as experimental model to study human pathologies. As previously done three years ago with IOSI, Helsinn continues to support valid medical-scientific research currently on-going in the Ticinese territory so as to tighten a network of relationships of a high scientific standard for the patient's benefit. The financial grant to the IRB helps support the activity of a young researcher. The Institute of Research of Biomedicine in Bellinzona The Institute of Research of Biomedicine (IRB) opened in Bellinzona in Spring 2000 is a private, non-profit Foundation. The two buildings, situated in Vincenzo Vela road and Murate road, house 75 researchers who work in nine research groups. The buildings offer 2,000 square meters of laboratories. The IRB strives to contribute to the progress of biomedical research by studying basic mechanisms of immune defense against pathogenic agents and tumors, and to find new approaches to diagnostics and therapy. Basic aspects of cell biology and protein structure are also studied. The IRB organizes seminars, scientific meetings and discussion groups. Moreover, the IRB provides support and training for graduate students from Switzerland and foreign countries. In only a few years of activity, the institute has succeeded in becoming a centre of excellence in research worldwide. The IRB receives financial support from the city of Bellinzona, the Canton of Ticino, the Swiss Confederation, from the Helmut Horten Foundation and from generous private donations. Approximately half of the costs are supported by grants, that is, funding from Swiss and international agencies obtained directly by the researchers. The Helsinn Group Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with headquarters in Lugano, Switzerland and subsidiaries in Ireland and USA. Helsinn's unique business model is focused on the licensing of pharmaceuticals and medical devices in therapeutic niche areas. The Group in-licenses early stage new chemical entities, completes their development from the performance of pre-clinical/clinical studies and Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC) development, to the filing for and attainment of their market approval worldwide. Helsinn's products are sold directly through the Group subsidiaries or eventually out-licensed to its network of local marketing and commercial partners, selected for their deep in-market knowledge and know-how, and assisted and supported with a full range of product and scientific management services, including commercial, regulatory, financial, legal and medical marketing advice. The active pharmaceutical ingredients and the finished dosage forms are manufactured at Helsinn's cGMP facilities in Switzerland and Ireland, and supplied worldwide to its customers. Helsinn is the worldwide licensor of palonosetron a second generation 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) and of post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV) in patients with cancer, and of the original nimesulide, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) distributed in more than 50 countries worldwide. Helsinn, with a workforce of 430 employees in Switzerland and Ireland, reports an expected 2008 turnover of approximately 280 million CHF covering 75 countries worldwide, with over 20% of this turnover invested in R&D. ots Originaltext: Helsinn Healthcare SA Internet: www.presseportal.ch Contact: Helsinn Healthcare SA Dott. Riccardo Braglia Amministratore Delegato, Gruppo Helsinn Chief Executive Officer, Helsinn Group Tel.: +41/91/985'21'21 E-Mail: PBO@helsinn.com Institute of Research in Biomedicine (IRB) Prof. Dr. Antonio Lanzavecchia Direttore/Director, IRB Tel.: +41/91/820'03'00 E-Mail: info@irb.unisi.ch

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