University of Geneva, Geneva University Hospitals and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics partner up with Roche

University of Geneva, Geneva University Hospitals and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics partner up with Roche in translational research

The University of Geneva (UNIGE), Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics announced today the creation of a strategic collaboration with Roche in translational medical research. The initial focus of this collaborative platform will be on basic research, bioinformatics and biomarker development in cardiology, hematology, pathology and applied human toxicology.

"We consider Geneva as one of the few centers that combines the expertise of world-class specialists in the field of proteomics and bioinformatics, with a strong translational set-up between labs and the clinic," says Jacky Vonderscher, Global Head of Translational Research Sciences at Roche. "This close link between diverse disciplines is absolutely key to better understand the diseases at the molecular level and ultimately to discover new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions."

Translational medical research translates basic scientific research into medical practice with the ultimate objective to deliver personalised healthcare solutions to patients. This collaboration will take advantage of the scientific excellence in Geneva and Roche's internal research, focusing on promising fields such as biomarkers, applied human toxicology and bioinformatics with a goal to develop better medical diagnostics and treatment choices tailored to patients. Roche has established such collaborations with distinguished universities in the US, Asia and Europe. "Innovation is at the core of Roche R&D to deliver better medicines to patients and we want to partner with excellent academic universities to progress translational research from the lab to patients," says Azhar Khan, Head of Roche Academic Alliances.

"The collaboration with Geneva is really important to us as it will focus on the predictability of safety assessment. The ability to forecast the side effects of medicine greatly grows with the use of human cells revealing the pharmacological and toxicological pathways," says Thomas Singer, Global Head of Non Clinical Safety at Roche.

With HUG's genetics medicine and laboratories department, UNIGE's Medical and Sciences Faculties and the Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology (SCAHT), Geneva can claim a unique set of skills and advanced tools in many fields related to life science applied to medicine. The participation of SIB extends the collaboration both scientifically and geographically by giving access to a large panel of competences in bioinformatics through its 28 centers of expertise across Switzerland.

"This agreement witnesses the high level of competences of Geneva's scientists and clinicians," says Denis Hochstrasser, Professor at the Medical and Sciences Faculties and initiator of the partnership. "It also validates the strategic choices in research made by the Geneva institutions."

Projects will be selected jointly based on areas of mutual interest in line with scientific and ethical guidelines and rules of the collaborating institutions.