• The I Prize in Applied Biomedicine supports the excellence in the transfer of knowledge

    July 05, 2011

    The awarding ceremony, held in a completely crowded Auditorium, was attended by the State Secretary of Research.

    Winners, political and academic authorities
    The University of Oviedo has given the I Prize in Applied Biomedicine of the Valdés Salas Foundation to the researcher Joan Gil, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology belonging to the Department of Physiological Sciences II of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and to Clara Campàs, representative of the pharmaceutical firm ADVANCELL, because of their joint work about the application of the Acadesine molecule in the treatment of leukaemia and the lymphomas of B cells.

    The awarding ceremony, chaired by the rector, Vicente Gotor, took place at the Auditorium of the University of Oviedo. The room was completely full. Among those who attended to the ceremony, apart from the winners, there was the Secretary of State for Research, Felipe Pétriz, the General Director of Universities of the Principality, Miriam Cueto, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Oviedo and the president of the Jury, Carlos López-Otín; and the Patron of the Valdés- Salas Foundation, Francisco Rodríguez. The rector's team also attended the ceremony as well as other members of the university community, political authorities from the Principality and the county, a large representation of Asturian companies and numerous organizations and institutions linked to the sphere of biotechnological research.

    A call to boost the transfer of knowledge

    Carlos López- Otín, president of the award's jury, was in charge of opening the event's time of interventions. He began his speech stressing the great attendance to this event which, according to him, "supports this initiative of the University of Oviedo and the Valdés Salas Foundation, in the framework of the Campus of International Excellence, to try to boost knowledge, technological transfer and, eventually the creation of wealth in Asturias" López- Otín considered that it was a "huge success" this first edition of the Valdés Salas Prize in Applied Biomedicine, a call to which excellent works were sent "representatives of the best Spanish universities".

    A prize of this nature "requires a huge level of commitment from the part of the jury", he added, who have chosen unanimously Joan Gil and ADVANCELL's project. López-Otín emphasized that the winners' work is "an excellent example of how a good basic research, essentially performed in a Spanish public University, is able to include additional ideas which also generates several economic resources". This fact must motivate the University to "take control" and, within its possibilities, "creating initiatives" for the enrichment of society contributing to the "creation of businesses and jobs".

    The researcher Joan Gil was excited and pleased to receive the prize about which he said that "it is the first award of his scientific career and it's an extremely important". Gil had words of appreciation for all his team and for the ADVANCELL Company because of their support.

    On the other hand, the representative of ADVANCELL, Clara Campàs, expressed a "deep gratitude" for this award, which she described as "brilliant initiative". Campàs talked about the importance of investing from public and private spheres in the transfer of technological knowledge, "it is necessary to give back to the society what the society has invested", she pointed out.

    The patron of the Valdés- Salas Foundation, Francisco Rodríguez, congratulated the winners, recognizing the scientific work of Joan Gil and stressing the importance of "convergences" between the areas of research and business as ADVANCELL. "Progress is to know and learning is to investigate", he said

    The General Director of Universities from the Principality of Asturias, Miriam Cueto, explained during her intervention that initiatives like this prize must be "recognized and supported" as it "tries to value the partnership between the university and the company". Following Cueto's opinion, this approach promotes "a smart growth based on knowledge" to what it is necessary that "university generates confidence", a greater involvement of the SMEs and increase private sector in R+D+i.

    The State Secretary for Research, Felipe Pétriz, had Words of appreciation for the winners whose work "is chaired by the three Essentials values for the future of the country: dedication, vision of future and commitment". He also affirmed that his cooperation labour is an "example to follow" since they represent "the entrepreneurial spirit and the search of solutions for society through science and innovation".

    During his speech, the rector praised the figure of Joan Gil "because he knows how to understand the research work as a common good for society" and he also praised the work of the pharmaceutical firm ADVANCELL that "could assess the potential of knowledge, which is the engine of progress", and he added that both represent "the transfer of knowledge", something which is essential for the society and in which the University of Oviedo has been working for a long time. "More means to develop cutting-edge research are needed", he said, as well as the "confidence, the capacity for innovation and the entrepreneurship of companies".

    The rector stressed the importance of this event for the University of Oviedo and for the Campus of International Excellence as this is an initiative related to the Cluster of Biomedicine. "Research is still a silent work, not very recognized by society, he affirmed and he asked for the promotion to boost scientific spreading by asking the attendants "a commitment of reciprocity".

    I Valdés-Salas Prize in Applied Biomedicine

    This award, co-funded by the pharmaceutical firms Bayer, COFAS and Farmaindustria, aims to promote the transfer of knowledge and recognize the researches carried out in universities or Spanish public research centres who have been used successfully by any national or international company. In this first edition, the award has been given to the experimental labour done by the team of Dr. Joan Gil in collaboration with the ADVANCELL Company about a molecule called Acadesine.

    The Acadesine takes part in the process of cell death or apoptosis, leading to the elimination of tumour cells resistant to this process when comparing them in the same environment. The experimental work has been successfully passed all the stages of pre-clinical trials for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, now involving about 25 patients which are being treated with this substance.

    Regarding the prize money, the researcher received a diploma, a trophy in bronze by the Asturian sculptor José Alonso Legazpi and a cheque for 15.000 Euros. Meanwhile, the company received a diploma and bronze trophy by the same author, Jose Legazpi. .