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Roche forms translational medicine research hub

Published on 26/05/10 at 12:30pm
Basel University's Biozentrum
Basel University's Biozentrum, which focus on the investigation of biological nanomachines and communication systems in health and disease

Roche is linking up with Basel’s university and university hospital in a ‘strategic alliance’ that will establish and manage what the three Swiss parties call a translational medicine research hub.

This will involve attempting to translate research from preclinical and clinical studies into new or improved therapies for various conditions.

The combination of brainpower and technology in Basel “has the potential to set new standards in developing strategies for drug development and driving personalised healthcare,” said Professor Peter Meier-Abt, the university’s rector for research and talent promotion.

The marriage of medical science and clinical research will work on areas such as the central nervous system, metabolic diseases and oncology as well as multi-disciplinary research.

Earlier this year Roche invested in a similar project in Singapore that looks at disease biology to inform personalised treatment options and its latest project chimes with Roche’s presentation in March, when it said its pipeline can sustain its growth in oncology and increase its presence in personalised healthcare.

Metabolism and diseases of the central nervous system are also areas in which Roche has indicated a wish to expand.

“The University of Basel and University Hospital are renowned for scientific excellence and leading translational medicine facilities,” said Roche’s Jean-Jacques Garaud, global head of pharma research and early development (pRED).

“There is huge potential for this partnership to generate novel scientific expertise and intellectual property in both therapeutic and diagnostic research and development.”

The main focus of the public-private partnership will be on the cellular basis of diseases, with a joint steering committee identifying new areas of common interest and suggesting future collaborations.

“This alliance will simplify dialogue between mutually interested groups and create a framework that allows researchers to concentrate on science,” explained Roche’s pRED development head Andreas Wallnoefer.

“We will continue to foster strategic collaborations with leading academic centres across the globe.”

Basel University was founded in 1460, is the oldest university in Switzerland, and has 12,000 students and a strong reputation in life sciences.

Adam Hill

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