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Debiopharm honors cancer research in Lausanne

The first Debiopharm Life Sciences Award will be presented to Spanish researcher Dr. Eduard Batlle during the 6th annual ISREC cancer research conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. This young scientist and his institute will receive 100,000 francs for his outstanding contributions to cancer research.

The award will be presented Wednesday, October 11, as part of the conference co-organized by EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale deLausanne) and ISREC (Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research) and held on the EPFL campus.

With one foot firmly in fundamental research and the other in clinical work, Eduard Batlle has concentrated his efforts over the past decade on elucidating the mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of colorectal cancer. His independent research in three different areas of colorectal cancer – the study of intestinal stem cells and their malignant counterparts, identification of molecules that prevent malignancy of colorectal tumors, and identification of the genetic components involved in the spread of cancer cells to the liver -- represents an important contribution to our understanding of this deadly cancer. His published articles have been cited more than a thousand times, appearing in journals such as Nature, Nature Cell Biology and Cell. He is also the holder of a patent that is currently being commercially developed by two companies.

Since 2004, Eduard Batlle has led the oncology group at Barcelona’s Biomedical Research Institute (IRB) and is a professor in the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies. He held postdoctoral research positions in Germany at the University of Marburg and in the Hubrecht Laboratory of the Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology. He specializes in the areas of molecular biology and colorectal cancer.


The purpose of the Debiopharm Life Sciences Award is to mentor and motivate innovative European life sciences researchers under the age of 40; this year, the prize is awarded for cancer research. The research must demonstrate innovative vision and originality and have high potential for therapeutic and commercial applications. The jury was composed of three representatives of Debiopharm including Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, the company’s President and Founder; three EPFL professors, including EPFL President Patrick Aebischer; and two external experts. The jury expressed admiration for the « extremely high level » of the candidates.

The Lausanne-based company Debiopharm, founded in 1979, is an independent drug-development company specializing in oncology and serious medical conditions. The company works closely with universities, research institutions, biotech firms or pharmaceutical companies to identify compounds with promising in-vivo results that could lead to new pharmaceutical products. With its considerable expertise and proven track record, Debiopharm shepherds potential products all the way through to the treatment phase. The company is known in particular for having several products such as Eloxatin®, treatment of choice for colorectal cancer, and Decapeptyl® and Trelstar® for prostate cancer treatment. These products are commercialized by pharmaceutical companies such as sanofi-aventis and Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

- For additional information, contact: Dietrich Reinhard, EPFL School of Life Sciences; tel: 021 693 16 43, e-mail:

- The official presentation ceremony will take place October 11 at 6 :45 pm at EPFL in room SG1, in the presence of Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, Founder and President of Debiopharm and Patrick Aebischer, President of EPFL.

Mary Parlange | alfa
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