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University of Basel

26 May 2019

The University of Basel receives two endowed professorships in nanopharmacy

Pioneering project: Prof. Dr. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, President of the University of Basel, and Etienne Jornod, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vifor Pharma, agree to collaborate in the field of nanopharmacy. (Photo: University of Basel, Basile Bornand)
Pioneering project: Prof. Dr. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, President of the University of Basel, and Etienne Jornod, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vifor Pharma, agree to collaborate in the field of nanopharmacy. (Photo: University of Basel, Basile Bornand)

Nanopharmacy promises to deliver pioneering innovations in drug development. For this cutting-edge technology, the University of Basel is setting up two professorships in Nanopharmaceutical and Regulatory Science, which are to receive CHF 10 million in funding from Vifor Pharma Group. This public-private partnership aims to provide Switzerland with the tools and skilled workers it needs to face the global competition.

Nanomedicine plays a key role in the development of innovative new medications. These drugs are able to overcome specific cellular barriers in the human body with a view to targeting their effect even more precisely. Nanopharmacy therefore promises to deliver innovative therapies for the benefit of patients.

At present, however, researchers are only just beginning to acquire the in-depth scientific insights needed for a fundamental understanding of the development of new products, their applications and especially the regulatory requirements across Europe and worldwide. Likewise, there is a lack of experts with the appropriate knowledge – and these experts are urgently needed in industry, at regulatory authorities and in medical practice, including in Switzerland. Ultimately, as with other areas of research, this will take the form of a global race: those who can present findings as quickly as possible will be able to assert themselves as a center of technology and research.

Reinforcement of the life sciences

Spread over 10 years, the commitment of CHF 10 million by Vifor Pharma Group is intended to establish the field of nanopharmacy research at the University of Basel and to support the training of corresponding experts. The newly created professorships in Nanopharmaceutical and Regulatory Science will be based at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. There are also plans to establish and develop an internationally renowned Excellence Platform for the development, authorization and application of nanopharmaceuticals, as well as the training of specialists in this area.

For the University of Basel, this collaboration marks an important step in the further development of its life sciences focal area. “We’re proud to be able to develop this promising field of research in collaboration with a major industrial partner,” says Professor Andrea Schenker-Wicki, President of the University of Basel. “The crucial thing here,” Schenker-Wicki adds, “is that we’re not only developing the scientific foundations, but also training the experts who will take this knowledge with them into industry and public authorities.” It is, she says, a key step for Basel and Switzerland in terms of their ability to compete on the international stage.

Vifor Pharma views its contribution as start-up funding for this Excellence Platform, which is supported and jointly endorsed by stakeholders from academia, industry and public authorities. The aim is for the platform to not only focus on research and teaching, but also to seek out international partnerships, organize conferences and incorporate additional sponsors with a view to becoming a leading international center for nanopharmacy. “In order to make rapid progress, we’re reliant on clear and scientifically sound parameters for authorization and patient safety,” says Etienne Jornod, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors at Vifor Pharma. “The field of nanopharmacy is growing quickly, and it’s important to secure a leading position in this innovative area of medicine with the help of qualified experts.”


Further information

  • Matthias Geering, University of Basel, Head of Communications & Marketing, phone: +41 61 207 35 75, mobile: +41 79 269 70 71, email: matthias.geering@unibas.ch
  • Patricia Fritschi, Vifor Pharma, Corporate Communications, phone: +41 58 851 67 16, email: media@viforpharma.com
  • Images

    A print-quality image for this press release is available in the media database.

The Vifor Pharma Gruppe is a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Switzerland. It aims to become a global market leader in the areas of iron deficiency, nephrology and cardio-renal therapies. Vifor Pharma has four locations for production, research and development in Switzerland, where it also produces the vast majority of its medicines. Including the head office, it has a workforce of over 1,300 staff in Switzerland. Vifor Pharma Group occupies a leading position in its core lines of business and is listed on the Swiss stock exchange.

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