Manila, July 26, 2014 – One of the country’s biggest annual biotechnology workshops gathered promising young Filipino scientists and respected Filipino biotech experts and entrepreneurs to discuss how Philippine research and development capabilities can be strengthened in order to meet global challenges.
Held on July 26, 2014 at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia in Pasay City, the Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp) is a pioneering annual biotechnology seminar for entrepreneurial, postgraduate students in science or business who are interested in pursuing a career in biotechnology.
First held in the Philippines in 2006, the Local BioCamp is a joint initiative of Novartis Healthcare Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in partnership with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), Intellectual Property Office Philippines (IP Philippines), and the country’s first biotechnology consulting firm Hybridigm Consulting Inc.
At the end of the Local BioCamp, top five students were selected to represent the Philippines in the International BioCamp, which will be held on August 24-27, 2014 at the Novartis Campus in Basel, Switzerland. Selection is based on academic excellence and professional experience. Novartis shoulders all travel and accommodation expenses of International BioCamp delegates. To date, 15 young Filipino scientists have participated in the International BioCamp.
“It is fitting that this year’s Novartis Local BioCamp coincides with the observance of National Science and Technology Week, an annual celebration that highlights significant contributions of science and technology to national development. National Science and Technology Week also serves as a venue to interface scientists and researchers with entrepreneurs and the business sector,” said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo.
“With increasing globalization, particularly ASEAN Harmonization, research and innovation are crucial in enabling the Philippines to cope with the complex set of new global challenges,” stressed Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.[pq]Health research is absolutely essential in enabling our health system to keep up with the times and leverage advances in technology…[/pq]
…said Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique T. Ona.
“We are pleased to work anew with Novartis and our other partners in strengthening our country’s scientific and technological base for healthcare delivery. We will continue to work towards local research that is dynamic, realistic, responsive and relevant in order to meet global challenges,” said Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, PCHRD Executive Director.
“BioCamp aims to develop future Filipino leaders in biotech. Participants get an insider’s perspective of the challenges and opportunities in biotechnology today through seminars led by biotech leaders from around the world.
“BioCamp is part of the Novartis advocacy to strengthen the country’s R&D capabilities and enhance access to quality health services and medicines,” said Ms. Christine Fajardo, Corporate Affairs and Market Access Director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines.
One of the highlights of this year’s Local BioCamp was the official opening of the application process for the Novartis Next Generation Scientists (NGS) Program, a 3-month internship program for senior scientists and clinicians from emerging countries currently engaged in a postgraduate training program at a university.
Local scientists who qualify for the NGS Program will work on their own research project with state-of-the-art methodologies and access to world-class scientists.
They will be exposed to a pharmaceutical industry-focused training curriculum, which covers drug discovery through the regulatory and quality aspects of drug development. Special focus will be on honing the interns’ leadership and communication skills.