With serving patients’ needs as the company’s highest purpose, one of CSL’s missions is to expedite the time needed for a potential treatment from its discovery in the lab to its safe and effective administration in patients.
A fruitful way to pursue this mission is to engage in external partnerships with start-ups and academic institutions to leverage their agility, talent and variety in disciplines – and in turn, offer a range of benefits: “Of course we offer funding. But in addition to that, we are able to provide access to extensive specialized knowledge and the accumulated experience of experts working for an industry leader”, said Adrian Zuercher, CSL’s Head of Research Europe.
One great example of such an exchange was the first Fireside Chat held end of September between expert scientists from CSL’s Research unit in sitem-insel, the Swiss Center for Translational and Enterpreneurial Medicine, and students from the sitem-insel School’s Translational Medicine and Biomedical Entrepreneurship (TMBE) study course. In their cohort, Gilles Augusto, Pilar Junier, Sailan Shui and Rao Tata had been awarded with a scholarship partially funded by CSL. The scholarship covers the study fee for a full two-year Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) program.
In an informal setting, the scholarship holders had the opportunity to present their projects and get immediate input and advice from experienced CSL scientists.
“As Center of Excellence for Translational Medicine, we enable a wide variety of units from the Insel hospital, industry, research, and education to network under one roof in pursuit of innovation for the benefit of the patient. Enabling direct industry contact and exchange for our students is one of the key benefits of our study programs. Together with CSL, our aim with this event was to create a space in which students can present their projects in a relaxed atmosphere and progress their work with lively discussions with experts while expanding their network”, said Dina Marti, Managing Co-Director sitem-insel School.
The efforts paid off: “It was a great opportunity to receive valuable inputs from experienced professionals in the field”, said Gilles Augusto, a Biotechnologist with a PhD in Clinical Medicine. He presented the latest status of his work on developing a disease-modifying therapy for cardiorespiratory diseases such as systemic amyloidosis and pulmonary fibrosis.
“I am really looking forward to further discussions enriching our projects and future ideas”, Pilar Junier added, who in her project is applying ecological theory for the fight against fungal pathogens, translating knowledge from natural ecosystems into human health. Pilar holds a PhD in Microbiology and is director of the Laboratory of Microbiology at the University of Neuchâtel.
Further projects presented included a talk on fast and simple DNA detection device for the anti-counterfeiting industry by Protein Engineer and EPFL post-doctoral researcher Sailan Shui, as well as work on targeting G5 to Ameliorate Leukemia Induced Cachexia and Mortality by Rao Tata from the Stem Cells and Cancer Biology Laboratory of the Department of Oncology and Hematology at the Cantonal hospital St. Gallen.
The event was well received by both sides: “It was really interesting to get a glimpse of these projects”, said Adrian Zuercher, “and I do believe that these kinds of encounter can enrich the ways in which we aim to accelerate the time needed for a novel asset get from the bench to the bed side.”