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Bristol-Myers Squibb-Sponsored Partnering for Cure(TM) Program Names Three European Award Winners for Research Projects Focused on Cure in Viral Diseases

Paris (ots/PRNewswire) - First-ever, Europe-wide scientific initiative designed to accelerate virology clinical research & transform clinical outcomes for patients

Three European virology researchers were awarded research grants this week based on their proposed research projects to investigate novel ways to cure viral diseases. The award-winners were chosen by an independent, expert faculty as part of the Partnering for Cure(TM)Program, a first-of-its kind, Europe-wide initiative. The program, sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb, is designed to accelerate innovative scientific research that could lead to cure in viral diseases, namely HIV, hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV). Partnering for Cure(TM) was launched by a faculty of independent virology experts with the shared goals of supporting breakthrough research and facilitating greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing with the virology clinical community.

"While significant advances have been made in virology over recent years, there is more work to be done to be able one day to cure chronic infectious diseases such as HIV, HBV and HCV," commented Christine Katlama, Partnering for Cure Faculty Chair, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris. "The Partnering for Cure initiative is tackling this head-on - joining with the clinical community to support research that will bring us even closer to our ultimate hope of a potential 'cure'."

"We are proud to announce the selected investigators of the first Partnering for Cure research initiative," said George Hanna, MD, vice president, HIV Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb. "Bristol-Myers Squibb has been a leader in virology for many years and we remain committed to supporting breakthrough research and education in virology with the goal of providing a forum for discussion of emerging science on the nature of chronic viral infections."

The winners of the research grants chosen in a blind evaluation by the Partnering for Cure Faculty are:

- Matthieu Perreau, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) Service
  Immunologie et Allergie, Switzerland Identification of the memory CD4 T-cell
  population(s) harbouring replication competent HIV-1 within lymphoid tissues
- Ruxandra Calin, Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Hôpital
  Pitié-Salpêtrière, France Comprehensive analysis of HIV reservoirs in chronically
  infected HIV-1 treated patients with a low total cell-associated blood HIV-DNA
- Valentina Svicher, AVIRALIA Foundation, Italy
  Identification and functional characterisation of genetic elements in HBV genome
  correlated with HBV reactivation driven by immunosuppression
 

Partnering for Cure has been developed and led by a European faculty of independent virology experts from across Europe, including Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the UK with the support of Bristol-Myers Squibb research and development staff.

The objectives of Partnering for Cure are to:

- Provide medical education to physicians interested in virology
- Provide support to researchers active in virology
- Provide a forum for physicians and researchers to discuss advances in virology
  towards cure
 

The Partnering for Cure initiative reinforces Bristol-Myers Squibb's commitment in virology, which is rooted in the company's legacy in virology and ongoing research in HIV and viral hepatitis. Chronic viral infections make a substantial contribution to the burden of chronic diseases and premature mortality worldwide. In December 2012, the Global Burden of Disease Study reported 1,465,000 deaths caused by HIV/AIDS and 1,445,000 deaths caused by viral hepatitis in 2010.[i] Infections with hepatitis B and C viruses also cause an estimated 57 percent of cases of liver cirrhosis and 78 percent of cases of primary liver cancer annually.[ii] Whilst important advances have been made over the last decade significant unmet needs and the opportunity for cure remains, particularly in HIV.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Commitment to Virology

For over 20 years, Bristol-Myers Squibb has worked collaboratively with the virology community to help meet the needs of patients living with this disease - from developing medicines, supporting disease education efforts and clinical research, and improving access to medicines in the developing world.

Like Partnering for Cure(TM), Bristol-Myers Squibb supports a number of scientific and educational programs within the virology community around the world that encompass disease education, disease awareness and sharing of best practices. These include SHE (Strong, HIV positive, Empowered Women / Strong, HIV positive Women Educational Programme), a comprehensive and innovative programme for women living with HIV and their healthcare providers, PATH B(R) (Patients and professionals acting together for hepatitis B), a joint initiative between hepatitis patient groups and hepatologists to provide comprehensive information and support for patients with chronic hepatitis B.

Additionally, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's philanthropic and educational programs, such as Secure the Future(R) and Delivering Hope(R) aim to support people living with HIV in Africa and with viral hepatitis in Asia, through numerous private-public partnerships and community based projects.

References

i. Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, The Lancet, Volume 380, No9859, Dec 15, 2012, p2053-2260

ii. WHO and WHA, Global Policy Report on the Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis, 2013, http://global-report.worldhepatitisalliance.org/en/home.html

Contact:

Media: Jeff Smith, +33(0)6-03-99-40-18, JR.Smith@bms.com



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