The César Milstein Award for Research in Biotechnology with an Impact on Health was awarded

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Daniel Filmus, participated in an event held at the Cassará Building, where the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), the Pablo Cassará Foundation and the “Dr. César Milstein ”(ICT Milstein) announced the winner of the First Edition of the“ César Milstein Award for Research in Biotechnology with an Impact on Health ”. During the ceremony, the President of CONICET, Ana Franchi; the Vice President of ICT Milstein, María Eugenia Balañá; Jorge Cassará, head of the Pablo Cassará Foundation, CONICET authorities and members of the evaluating jury.

The award-winning project is titled “Molecular and functional characterization of TßRII-SE, a new splicing variant of the Type 2 TGF-ß receptor, and development of a derived biopharmaceutical” and is led by Ricardo Dewey, CONICET researcher at the Institute Tecnológico de Chascomús (INTECH, CONICET-UNSAM).

Filmus congratulated the representatives of all the projects that were presented and, especially, the winner. The minister highlighted “the work of the ICT César Milstein and the Cassará Foundation in relation to the development of the vaccine against COVID-19. Investing in science and technology makes sense if it helps solve our people’s problems. Nothing better than Milstein’s quote from Bernando Houssay: ‘Rich countries are rich because they dedicate money to scientific-technological development, and poor countries continue to be so because they don’t. Science is not expensive, ignorance is expensive ‘and that goes along the same lines as Gandhi’s famous phrase:’ We are too poor to afford not to invest in science and technology ‘”.

The minister added that for this reason “we maintain that Argentina has no possibility of transformation or growth or of distributing income more fairly, but it is through science and technology. There is no country in the world that has developed that has not been based on its universities, its research centers and its researchers and public-private articulation is one of the privileged methods ”.

In turn, Franchi thanked the jury for the hard work carried out in record time and praised the Prize initiative and the importance of public-private articulation. In turn, he expressed: “Science and technology at the global and national level have been in high demand in the last two years. Few times in the history of humanity have we seen this, it gave us a great responsibility towards society. I think that the Argentine scientific community was up to the task, they put us in the window, we knew how to respond to this demand, and that is because we were here, because no one invents a scientific community ”.

Finally, the President of CONICET pointed out that “science and technology are essential in this pandemic, but also for the development of a more just, sovereign and inclusive country. There is a government that constantly talks about science and technology, we have a State that supports and relies on science ”.

The work shows the development and technology transfer of a new biopharmaceutical with antifibrotic characteristics based on the discovery and characterization of a new molecule present in human cells. The proposal obtained as a prize one and a half million pesos of financing. It is important to mention that in 2018 Dewey and his team created the Rad Bio SAS Technology Base Company (EBT CONICET) to continue the technological development of a new biopharmaceutical.

This award -which is part of the year honoring the César Milstein Nobel Prize in Medicine- seeks to give visibility to the results of research that can contribute to the development of products or processes in biotechnology and to promote public-private articulation in the specific field of health human. In this first edition of the award, which was organized by CONICET and the Cassará Foundation through ICT Milstein, the projects presented had to be framed in one of the following areas of knowledge: Immunology, Preventive Medicine, Regenerative Medicine, Microbiology and Oncology.

At the same time, the Project “Diagnos-TB: a new diagnostic test for the detection of infection by Mycobacyterium tuberculosis with the ability to differentiate active and latent infection” received the 1st Mention of the César Milstein Prize. “Diagnos-TB” is a diagnostic kit that allows the detection of tuberculosis with unprecedented efficiency. It is led by Verónica García – a CONICET researcher with a workplace at the Institute of Biological Chemistry of the Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences (IQUIBICEN, CONICET-UBA) – who received as a distinction a financing of one million pesos. Verónica and her team are providing the High Level Technological Service (STAN) “Diagnos-TB” to the community, thus contributing with doctors from different specialties in making decisions about the best treatment to apply in the absence of an exact diagnosis due to traditional methods.

The 2nd Mention of the Prize was for the project “Neuroprotection and neuroplasticity: the FUTURE of a molecule that YESTERDAY was only a drug that stimulates erythropoiesis”. It focuses on modifying the human erythropoietin molecule (hEPO) to nullify its unwanted effect and preserve its neuroprotective and neuroplastic capacity in order to develop a biopharmaceutical that serves to prevent or treat neurodegenerative diseases in the future. It is led by Marcos Oggero Eberhardt -a CONICET researcher with a workplace in the Cell Culture Laboratory of the Faculty of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences of the Universidad Nacional del Litoral- who received funding for 500 thousand pesos. It is important to highlight that together with their work team they have created the Technology Base Company (EBT CONICET) BioSynaptica SA to consolidate this development.

For the first edition of the Award, numerous and diverse projects have been presented that have a scientific and / or technological basis in the field of biotechnology. Nine were shortlisted for their contribution to the generation of knowledge and their impact on the social diffusion of science, research, innovation and technological development. They participated after a day of Pitch Day, where the presentations were expanded and the jury designated the winners.

The vice president of ICT Milstein, María Eugenia Balañá; CONICET and Cassará Foundation authorities and members of the evaluating jury.

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The César Milstein Award for Research in Biotechnology with an Impact on Health was awarded