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Octapharma Targets Primary Immune Deficiency Research With Grant for The Mount Sinai Medical Center
Date:1/18/2011

NEW YORK and HOBOKEN, N.J., Jan. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Octapharma USA today announced the second grant recipient of the Octapharma 25th Anniversary Grants Program is the Clinical Immunology Research Laboratory at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. The Octapharma Grants program supports clinical or pre-clinical research focused on human protein therapies in hematology, immune therapy, intensive care and emergency medicine.

Charlotte Cunningham-Rundles, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Allergy Immunology and the Immunology Training Program and Director of the Immunodeficiency Clinic at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, is the lead investigator for a research project focused on distinguishing true Common Variable Immune Deficiencies (CVID) from disorders with more modest immune defects. Dr. Cunningham-Rundles has nearly 30 years experience with clinical immune deficiency disorders with a research focus of human immunodeficiency diseases and immuno-reconstitution.

Octapharma AG, one of the largest human protein products manufacturers in the world, launched the Octapharma Grants program last year in celebration of the biopharmaceutical company's 25th anniversary. The company's first ever grants program is only available to researchers based in the United States and is administered by Octapharma USA, the Swiss company's U.S. subsidiary.

"It is a pleasure to announce Octapharma's support for the valuable research being pursued by the Clinical Immunology Research group at The Mount Sinai Medical Center," said Octapharma USA President Flemming Nielsen. "Dr. Cunningham-Rundles is a well-recognized national leader in the field of clinical and laboratory immunology and we consider her research extremely important in understanding how to best diagnose and treat primary immune deficiency earlier and more effectively. The grant program and its second award will continue to advance Octapharma's firm commitment to the U.S. market, underscoring our commitment to provide patients with the safest, highest quality therapies available today."

CVID is a primary immune defect characterized by poor or absent production of immune globulins IgG, IgA and/or IgM. CVID is a type of primary immune deficiency disease with high clinical interest due to its prevalence, severity of complications, rate of hospitalizations and necessity for lifelong immune globulin therapy.  Unfortunately, using the available published criteria for diagnosing CVID, physicians have difficulty distinguishing this disease from milder immune defects of antibody production.  The difficulty of distinguishing between patient groups is medically important as subjects with validated CVID appear more likely to develop selected inflammatory complications which may require additional monitoring or treatment. Patients with more modest defects may be more exempt from these issues and could require different clinical surveillance.

"The aim of our research is to provide the medical community and patients with information and tools to distinguish the more clear cases of CVID from other milder antibody disorders," said Dr. Cunningham-Rundles. "By reviewing and analyzing clinical records and available laboratory data, we will work toward the development of a scoring system as a clinical tool.  With the large cohort of patients seen at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, the study may be able to determine if the immunologic and clinical differences seen in various defects can be distinguished."

The Octapharma Grants Committee has officially closed the second cycle of 2010 grant applications and has opened the first cycle for 2011 applications.  The deadline for the next cycle of 2011 submissions is March 31. Please visit www.octapharmagrants.com for a complete description of the grants program.

About the Octapharma Group

Headquartered in Lachen, Switzerland, Octapharma AG is one of the largest human protein products manufacturers in the world and has been committed to patient care and medical innovation for over 27 years. Octapharma's core business is the development, production and sale of high quality human protein therapies from both human plasma and human cell-lines, including immune globulin intravenous (IGIV). In the U.S., Octapharma's IGIV product, octagam®  (immune globulin intravenous [human] 5%), is used to treat disorders of the immune system, and Octapharma's Albumin (human)® is indicated for the restoration and maintenance of circulating blood volume. Octapharma's wilate® received orphan drug exclusivity from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of von Willebrand disease (VWD). Octapharma employs over 4,000 people and has biopharmaceutical experience in 80 countries worldwide, including the United States, where Octapharma USA is located in Hoboken, N.J.  Octapharma operates two state-of-the-art production sites licensed by the FDA, providing a high level of production flexibility. For more information, please visit www.octapharma.com.

About the Clinical Immunology Research Laboratory, The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of few medical schools embedded in a hospital in the United States. The Mount Sinai Medical Center has one of the largest programs in the country for treating patients with antibody defects, treating adult and pediatric patients from throughout the Northeast. The Clinical Immunology Research Laboratory focuses on the investigation of human immunodeficiency diseases and immuno-reconstitution and has been supported by research grants from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


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