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Augurix Diagnostics Receives the 2011 'Debiopharm /Valais Award' for its Point-of-care Diagnostic Test for the Early Detection of Celiac Disease

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, November 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Debiopharm Group™ (Debiopharm), a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group with a focus on drug development and companion diagnostics, presents the 2011 'Debiopharm /Valais Award' to Augurix Diagnostics (Augurix), a privately held company based in Monthey (Valais), that focuses on point-of-care testing in the field of gastro-enterology and initially on Celiac disease. Debio R.P., the Martigny-based structure of Debiopharm, will award 20'000 Swiss francs to Augurix CEO Thierry Duvanel during the ceremony that will take place on November 10th during the Ark Innovation Day at BioArk.

Augurix has developed a diagnostic test (Simtomax®) used for the screening of Celiac disease. The test replicates existing expensive laboratory diagnostic procedures, using a fraction of the blood sample normally required, and it delivers results in 10 minutes with equivalent reliability. The intended use of Simtomax® is to exclude Celiac disease when performing large screening or differential diagnosis, thereby moving faster towards therapy. This diagnostic test significantly reduces the medical costs and use of healthcare services.

"It is an honour for Augurix to receive the 2011 Debiopharm /Valais Award," declared Thierry Duvanel, CEO of Augurix SA. "Our company is focused on point-of-care testing, which is one of the major trends shaping the future of medical diagnostics. Receiving this award reinforces our vision and is a great incentive for us to move it forward."

"The jury was unanimous in its decision to elect Augurix for the Award," said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President and founder of Debiopharm Group™. "We were seduced by their skills in the diagnostic area and by their ability to develop a point-of-care strategy, which we are sure will open new approaches for the treatment of the Celiac and other diseases. Debiopharm is committed to the development of life sciences in the 'Health Valley' and believes strongly in the Valais of tomorrow. We wish Augurix all the best in their future endeavours."

"Augurix is a five-year old company that has demonstrated its total commitment to patients suffering from Celiac disease. The attachment of the company to the canton of Valais and their commitment to innovate at their location is additional evidence that the canton can attract sophisticated industries," added Dr Jean-Claude Villettaz, Vice President of The Ark Foundation and President of the Award jury.

About Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the world, affecting about 1% of the global population. It occurs in genetically predisposed individuals, due to an abnormal immune response to gluten, the storage protein of wheat. Celiac disease patients also react to similar proteins present in rye and barley. The vast majority of sufferers are not properly diagnosed, it is estimated that only about 1 in 5'000 patients suffering from the disease is diagnosed. Patients can be critically ill with diarrhoea and a classical mal-absorption syndrome, or with atypical symptoms that can affect any organ system. The atypical, non-diarrheal presentations are now the most frequent. It is this diverse mode of presentation that makes the diagnosis difficult to make. If left undiagnosed and untreated patients are at high risk of developing serious, high morbidity diseases, such as intestinal lymphoma, fertility disorders, osteoporosis, anaemia, or other autoimmune diseases.

The total market of Celiac disease, including the therapeutic applications, is estimated to reach $8bn by 2019.

About the Award

Debiopharm launched the Award in 2008, to encourage the development of innovative activities in the life sciences field in the Valais. The aim is to reward students, researchers or companies (start-up, small to medium size) whose research work has led to an innovation with applications in the fields of life sciences and technologies of the living. The innovation or its scientific and economic benefits need to be related to the Valais. The event is organised by The Ark Foundation in partnership with BioAlps, Swiss Biotech Association and les Hautes Ecoles de Suisse Romande.

About Debiopharm Group™

Debiopharm Group™ (Debiopharm) is a Swiss-based global biopharmaceutical group of companies with a focus on the development of prescription drugs that target unmet medical needs. The group in-licenses, develops and/or co-develops promising biological and small molecule drug candidates having reached clinical development phases I, II or III, as well as earlier stage candidates. It develops its products for global registration and maximum commercial potential. The products are out-licensed to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing. Debiopharm is also active in the field of companion diagnostics with a view to progressing in the area of personalised medicine. Debiopharm independently funds the worldwide development of all of its products while providing expertise in pre-clinical and clinical trials, manufacturing, drug delivery and formulation, and regulatory affairs.

For more information on Debiopharm Group™, please visit:

Debio Recherche Pharmaceutique (Debio R.P.), based in Martigny, is a pharmaceutical research, development and production facility that has been Swissmedic and ANVISA (Brazil) certified, as well as inspected and registered by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Debio R.P. is active in the discovery, formulation and development of peptides. Per year, 300'000 patients are treated worldwide with products developed or produced in Martigny, with a response rate of 95%. Debio R.P. is part of Debiopharm Group™ and employs 130 people, half of whom have university degrees or are engineers.

About The Ark Foundation

The Ark organises and coordinates various activities to help both start-up and existing companies to establish and expand in the Valais. It creates the appropriate framework conditions for the canton's economic players to develop their creativity and innovation. To achieve this, The Ark promotes the development of knowledge originating from Switzerland's universities of applied sciences and from cantonal and national research organisations. It also draws together networks of excellence at local, national and international levels.

Created in 2004 by the local economic development body, the Département de l'Economie et du Territoire du canton du Valais, the Ark is the product of the local authorities' strategy of creating a science and technology park in the Valais. The particular features of this park are that it is spread across six different sites, and focuses on three specific areas: computer and communication sciences, life sciences and engineering.

For more information on the Ark, please visit :

About BioArk

BioArk is a technology site specialising in life sciences. It supports start-ups and existing companies active in the fields of biotechnology and regenerative medicine, by providing them with appropriate services and facilities, to ease their transition towards industrial production.

BioArk is situated in Monthey, Switzerland, where several multinationals involved in fine chemistry and biotechnology have been present for many years. Intellectual exchange and a spirit of competition flourish in this world-famous area, where the knowledge and facilities of these leading industrial players are combined with the wealth of expertise to be found in research organisations, academic establishments and the site's specialist companies.

For more information on BioArk, please visit :

     Debiopharm S.A. Contact
    Maurice Wagner
    Director Corporate Affairs & Communication
    Tel.: +41-(0)21-321-01-11
    Fax: +41-(0)21-321-01-69 

     Debio R.P. Contact
    Dr Bertrand Ducrey
    CEO, Debio R.P.
    Tel.: + 41(0)27/721 79 00 

     Augurix diagnostics Contact
    Thierry Duvanel
    Tel.: +41(0)848 235 422 

     President of the Jury
    Dr Jean-Claude Villettaz
    Vice President of The Ark Foundation
    Tel: +41 (0)79/262 44 12


    Additional Media Contacts
    In London
    Brian Hudspith
    Tel: +44 (0)20 7379 5151 

    In New York
    Russo Partners, LLC
    Martina Schwarzkopf, Ph.D.
    Account Executive
    Tel: +1 212-845-4292
    Fax: +1 212-845-4260

SOURCE The Debiopharm Group
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