Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT

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

November 9, 2011

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

Debiopharm Group(TM) (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(R)) 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(R) 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(TM).
“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(TM)

Debiopharm Group(TM) (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(TM), 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(TM) 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 Departement
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

For more information on BioArk, please visit : http://www.bioark.ch.

           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

Source: PR Newswire