Bayer HealthCare Commits US-Dollar 2.5 Million in Funding to Advance Global Hemophilia Research

The Bayer GroupBayer HealthCare announced that it is awarding more than US-Dollar 2.5 million in funding through its Bayer Hemophilia Awards Program (BHAP). 21 individuals from 12 countries will be supported for their hemophilia research activities and clinical projects. The recipients were selected from a 16-member Grant Review and Award Committee, representing clinicians and researchers from around the world and were honored during the World Federation of Hemophilia 2008 World Congress in Istanbul, Turkey.

BHAP is the largest awards program of its kind in hemophilia. It provides funds that support clinical and basic research; encourage new physicians to enter the field; and support continuing education for caregivers. Since 2002, BHAP has provided 138 grants, totaling more than US-Dollar 15 million, to researchers and caregivers around the world. This year's awards will support a variety of initiatives, from novel approaches for the treatment of hemophilia A and hemophilia B to programs that increase nurse training and improve diagnostic laboratory quality control in developing countries.

"The Hemophilia Awards Program is a strong testament to Bayer's holistic approach to advancing hemophilia care across the globe," said Dr. Gunnar Riemann, member of the Executive Committee of Bayer HealthCare. "The program is founded on the belief that we can make much faster progress by leveraging the talent, motivation and passion of individuals from all walks of hemophilia care. I congratulate all of this year’s awardees and wish them the very best in their endeavors."

A significant issue in the treatment of hemophilia today is the formation of inhibitory antibodies in response to factor VIII replacement therapies; these antibodies bind to the therapeutic factor VIII protein and reduce its ability to effectively stop or prevent bleeding thus increasing the risk for patients. One of this year's award winners, Dr. Carol Miao, will examine the biological mechanism by which different immunosuppressive regimens induce tolerance. This research could have a tremendous impact on the quality of care for patients, in particular the very young.

"The BHAP program fills a significant gap in hemophilia by funding research and innovative programs aimed at increasing the understanding of the disease and the care of people living with it," said David Lillicrap, M.D., chairman of the BHAP grant review committee and professor in the department of pathology and molecular medicine, Queen’s University, Canada. "We expect that these high-quality projects will help advance the field of hemophilia, and we look forward to the positive impact their results will have on the global hemophilia community."

Following are the 2008 award recipients for each of the BHAP categories:

Special Project Awards - provide support for scientific research.

  • Anne Angelillo-Scherrer, University Medical Center and University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Rolf Ljung, Universitetssjukhuset MAS, Malmo, Sweden
  • Carol Miao, Seattle Children's Hospital Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • Kazuo Ohashi, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Japan
  • Guowei Zhang, Blood Research Institute, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  • X. Long Zheng, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Early Career Investigator Awards - provide salary support and research funds for junior faculty members to undertake mentored basic and/or clinical research projects.

  • Antonio Coppola, Federico II University of Naples, Naples, Italy
  • Mona Dhiraj Shah, Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  • Keith Gomez, The Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK
  • Joerg Schuettrumpf, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Clinics, Frankfurt, Germany

Clinical Scholarship Awards - facilitate the development of specific clinical expertise for applicants who have completed medical training.

  • Michela de Mattio, University of Milan, Italy
  • Sylvia Reitter, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
  • Amit Soni, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Orange, California, USA

Hemophilia Caregivers Education Awards - support continuing education for caregivers and allied health professionals.

  • Elena Baccalandro, University of Milan, Italy
  • Lesturuge Dhammika, National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Mukesh Garodia, Hemophilia Society Guwahati Chapter, Guwahati, Assam, India
  • Kate Khair, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London, UK
  • Apurba Mitra and Jayanti Basu, The Haemophilia Society Calcutta Chapter, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
  • Luz Graciela Villalaz, Fundacion Panamena De Hemofilia/Hospital Del Nino, Panama City, Republic of Panama
  • Jie Zhao, Nanfang Hospital, Gangzhou, China

BHAP is part of the social engagement of the Bayer Group. Bayer sees itself as a part of society and wants to contribute to solving social problems and overcoming global challenges as a good corporate citizen. Together with various partners, Bayer HealthCare has engaged in a multitude of projects aiming at the improvement of health care worldwide. This includes better access to medicines, educational programs and the support of research activities.

Bayer believes the Hemophilia Awards Program can improve the lives of patients with hemophilia by supporting research and education worldwide. Parties who wish to apply for the 2009 Bayer Hemophilia Awards should submit a letter of intent by November 30, 2008 to be considered. A 16-member Grant Review and Award Committee, representing clinicians and researchers from around the world, selects the group of recipients each year. For complete information on the Bayer Hemophilia Awards Program, award categories, and submission process, visit the Web site at http://www.bayer-hemophilia-awards.com.

About Hemophilia A
Hemophilia A, also known as factor VIII deficiency or classic hemophilia, is largely an inherited bleeding disorder in which one of the proteins needed to form blood clots in the body is missing or reduced. Hemophilia A is the most common type of hemophilia and is characterized by prolonged or spontaneous bleeding, especially into the muscles, joints, or internal organs. Approximately 400,000 people around the world have hemophilia A.

About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, is one of the world’s leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Diabetes Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. The pharmaceuticals business operates under the name Bayer Schering Pharma. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover and manufacture products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Find more information at http://www.bayerhealthcare.com.

Bayer Schering Pharma is a worldwide leading specialty pharmaceutical company. Its research and business activities are focused on the following areas: Diagnostic Imaging, General Medicine, Specialty Medicine and Women's Healthcare. With innovative products, Bayer Schering Pharma aims for leading positions in specialized markets worldwide. Using new ideas, Bayer Schering Pharma aims to make a contribution to medical progress and strives to improve the quality of life. Find more information at http://www.bayerscheringpharma.de.

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