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Ferring Research Infertility and Gynaecology GrAnt (FRIGGA) 2008 Winners Announced

BARCELONA, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The winners of the Ferring Research Infertility and Gynaecology GrAnt (FRIGGA) are announced today at the European Society for Human Reproduction & Embryology Congress. The two winners of this new prize are the University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands and the Universitair Ziekenhuis (UZ) Brussel, Centre for Reproductive Medicine,Belgium.

The winning research institutions were selected for their outstanding proposals for fundamental research to help gain an increased understanding of the role of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in assisted reproduction.

"We received a high standard of entries with seven considered in the final judging stage. The judging panel found that the two winning proposals were both innovative and feasible and could help deepen our understanding of an important factor in successful fertility treatment," comments Professor Paul Devroey, Chairman of the FRIGGA judging panel and Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine, Brussels Free University, Belgium.

The grant is named after Frigga, the goddess of fertility, motherhood, love, family and home from Scandinavian mythology. FRIGGA is a biennial, global grant for fundamental fertility and gynaecology research that was launched by Ferring in January 2008. It received global interest, with 53 entries from 22 countries across the globe. The entries were reviewed anonymously by an independent judging panel composed of experts from around the world. The winning research must be completed and presented by 2010.

"We at Ferring are strongly committed to this area of medicine which we believe benefits not just those who wish to become parents, but society as a whole. The Ferring Research Infertility and Gynaecology Grant - The FRIGGA Award - underlines our continuing commitment to take the lead in ART," says Dr. Pascal Danglas, Executive Vice President, Clinical R&D and Product Development, Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

Centre for Reproductive Medicine, Ziekenhuis University, Brussel, Belgium.

Research title: Among ICSI patients who undergo antagonist protocols with recombinant FSH, what is the influence on the gene expression profile of the endometrium when recombinant FSH is replaced by 200 IU of hCG in the late follicular phase?

Dr Christophe Blockeel, the principal applicant awarded the prize of 50,000 Euros, is a Fellow in Reproductive Medicine and Clinical Tutor at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine, UZ Brussels, Belgium. Since its creation in 1983, the Centre for Reproductive Medicine has played a pioneering role in the development and enhancement of reproductive techniques. For decades the Centre has been a major player on the international scene in its discipline.

"We are very excited and proud to win this award. Research is exciting but to win such an award brings even greater motivation to continue our work. Appreciation from our team and staff is so important but to get appreciation from a company like Ferring is really something." Dr Christophe Blockeel.

University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Research title: Assessment of oocyte quality by embryo aneuploidy rates and cumulus cell gene expression: effect of late follicular phase hCG administration.

Dr Esther Baart, principal applicant of the second winning institution also awarded 50,000 Euros is a Clinical Embryologist and researcher in the Department of Reproduction and Gynaecology, University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMC Utrecht). UMC Utrecht is one of the largest public healthcare institutions in The Netherlands and is renowned for the quantity and quality of their international scientific publications. This high position can be attributed to a number of both clinical and pre-clinical research groups and national and international collaboration is an important positive factor in this.

"Receiving the award gives an enormous boost for our research. We feel looking at gene expression in cumulus cells will help understand the mechanism behind different ovarian stimulation protocols and how they influence oocyte quality. It is an honour for the value of our research to be recognised." Dr Esther Baart.


Infertility is generally defined as the inability to conceive naturally after one year of trying to become pregnant by unprotected intercourse. Infertility does not mean sterility, but it does signify a reduction in the chances of conceiving a child spontaneously. According to the World Health Organisation, between 60 and 80 million couples in the world are Infertile(1), and one in six couples have to seek help to conceive(2). The problem is found to lie with the male in nearly half of cases, although many attribute the rise of infertility to women opting to postpone motherhood until later in life, which often results in age-related infertility.

About Ferring Pharmaceuticals

Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a research-driven, specialty biopharmaceutical group active in global markets. The company identifies, develops and markets innovative products in the areas of fertility, obstetrics, urology, gastroenterology and endocrinology. Ferring's fertility portfolio of treatments gives infertile couples the chance to have babies and includes its flagship brand MENOPUR(R), a recognised high quality treatment for infertility. Ferring has operating subsidiaries in over 50 countries. To learn more about Ferring or our products please visit


(1) (2) Hull, MG et al. Population study of causes, treatment, and outcome of infertility. British Medical Journal. 1985 Dec 14;291(6510):1693-7

SOURCE Ferring Pharmaceuticals
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