South Africa: Novartis International BioCamp Highlights Global R&D reach to meet patient needs in emerging markets

Johannesburg, South Africa, 12 November, 2012 – Novartis welcomed its annual International Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp), a three-day seminar bringing biotechnology and business experts together with 60 selected students from leading international universities in 21 countries and territories. This year, Novartis BioCamp emphasised the increased access to healthcare and the importance of research and development (R&D) in emerging markets and how the company’s innovative approach is expanding its global reach in clinical development. 

Novartis continues its commitment to sustained investment in R&D to develop targeted therapies that could change the practice of medicine and deliver the highest benefit for patients. This is particularly evident in the company’s approach to emerging markets, which represent an important and growing sector for Novartis’ innovation and clinical development. Novartis South Africa was certified as one of the Best Employers South Africa in 2012/13 by The CRF Institute.

Novartis is a leader in emerging markets with 10% of Group net sales coming from the top six emerging markets in 2011. This is supported by selective investments in innovation, infrastructure and people to expand Novartis presence in South Africa, China, Brazil, Russia and India as well as other targeted emerging market countries.

“Accelerating growth in emerging markets to complement traditional strengths in Europe and North America is essential to Novartis’ vision for the future,” said Luciano Marques, CEO of Novartis in South Africa.  “Close working relationships with local healthcare leaders helps narrow the gap between patient care and access in developed and emerging markets. We hope to see these BioCamp students go on to lead us into a future where patients get optimal care regardless of geography.”

Since launching BioCamp in 2004, Novartis has introduced more than 500 top graduate students to the life sciences industry and entrepreneurship. This year the students listened to Rolf M. Zinkernagel, M.D., a Nobel Prize Laureate and member of the Novartis AG Board of Directors and Prof. Susan Gasser, Director of Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, among others. The BioCamp students also interact with Novartis scientists and executives who lead the company’s approach to drug development and learn about breakthrough new medicines to address patients’ unmet medical needs. The programme is designed to help students understand trends and challenges in the biotechnology and life science sectors as well as gain first-hand experience about starting and running a biotech company.  BioCamp has helped bridge into local communities and build connections to aid future collaborations in research and clinical development.

This year, Hope Serepa, a postgraduate student in molecular and cell biology from the University of Witwatersrand and Francois Taute, a postgraduate student in biochemistry from the University of the Western Cape, were two South African students selected to attend the International Novartis BioCamp.

“BioCamp was a fantastic opportunity to work with students of different disciplines and from around the world,” says Serepa.  “It really gave me a fresh perspective into how theory can be practically applied in our careers.”

“It was great to see science translated into useful applications,” says Taute. “This is where scientists and corporates work together for the public good.”

Novartis spokesperson, Patrice Matchaba says the BioCamp programme seeks to balance students’ professional development goals while providing exposure to typical drug discovery and clinical research activities at Novartis.  “Over the long term, the company aims to develop young scientists who can play a positive role in their country.”

This year is also the tenth anniversary of the Gleevec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP), a pioneering, ground-breaking, direct-to-patient oncology access programme operating across 80 countries. GIPAP helps about 50 000 cancer patients diagnosed with Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor or Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia in countries without government or private reimbursement and who were unable to pay for medication to access oncology drug Gleevec.

Novartis strives to ensure that patients can benefit from new medicines as quickly as possible by increasing the speed of development, expanding clinical trials to include new markets, and uniting with academia and governments on new technologies. Endeavouring to lead in healthcare innovation, Novartis fosters a blend of corporate citizenship and entrepreneurship to deliver for patients in emerging markets and around the world.

About BioCamp

First started nine years ago in Taiwan, BioCamp has developed into an international forum for science and businessstudents from around the world to learn, exchange ideas and work together in a highly competitive business environment. Previously hosted in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Cambridge, Massachusetts, the 2012 seminar marked the thirdtime International BioCamp is hosted at the state-of-the-art Novartis global headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.


The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as “commitment,” “could,” “vision for the future,” “hope,” “will,” ”designed,” “strives to ensure,” “endeavouring,” “strategy,” or similar expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding the development of potential new medicines, or regarding the potential future financial performance of Novartis. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of management regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that any new Novartis medicines will be approved for sale, or for any additional indications or labelling in any market, or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that Novartis will achieve any particular levels of financial performance in the future. In particular, management’s expectations could be affected by, among other things, unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; unexpected clinical trial results, including unexpected new clinical data and unexpected additional analysis of existing clinical data; the company’s ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; government, industry and general public pricing pressures; competition in general; unexpected manufacturing issues; the impact that the foregoing factors could have on the values attributed to the Novartis Group’s assets and liabilities as recorded in the Group’s consolidated balance sheet, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2011, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58.6 billion, while approximately USD 9.6 billion (USD 9.2 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges) was invested in R&D throughout the Group. Novartis Group companies employ approximately

126,000 full-time-equivalents associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit

Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis at and follow BioCamp tweets with the hash tag #BioCamp2012.