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This year's BioCamp on the impact of data and artificial intelligence on the pharmaceutical industry

• For eleven years in a row, Novartis Slovenia has been organizing the scientific event BioCamp, which is intended to connect top students, academic institutions and the economy.
• The BioCamp 2021 online event takes place between 27 September and 1 October, and this year’s theme is the impact of data and artificial intelligence on the pharmaceutical industry. 
• The annual BioCamp is largely co-created by partner institutions, especially faculties, which bring an important academic aspect to the event. 

Ljubljana, 27 September 2021 – This year's BioCamp began with welcome addresses by Robert Ljoljo, President of the Board of Management of Lek and President of Novartis Slovenia, and Jerh Collins, Chief Culture Officer at Novartis. The event, which last year received a special award for Outstanding Human Resources Practice, represents a unique connection between the scientific-academic and economic spheres, thus contributing to the development of young talents and the entire Slovenian economy. The central theme of this year's BioCamp is the impact of data and artificial intelligence on the pharmaceutical industry. 

Similarly to last year, this year’s BioCamp event takes place in a virtual environment, encouraging promising students of natural, economic and technical sciences from the region and beyond to connect with renowned experts and leading managers, offering them a unique insight into the pharmaceutical industry. Furthermore, the event involves a competition between teams of students in solving and preparing a project related to a specific challenge in the pharmaceutical industry and presenting it to an expert commission, which then selects the best team. As part of this event, Novartis also awards a prize for the most effective use of social media and the most outstanding participant at the event, while students vote for the best participant among themselves. In eleven years, BioCamp has been attended by more than 350 participants from 31 countries, of which more than 45 were later recruited by Novartis. “For Novartis Slovenia, BioCamp is one of the important recruiting practices with which we encourage young talents to get to know the work in an international pharmaceutical company, and the challenges and opportunities we face. We are proud to be able to, year after year, host world-class experts and scientists, who present the latest findings and innovations in the field and thus provide young people with an invaluable experience,” summarized Dr. Janko Ignjatović, President of the BioCamp Organizing Committee, at the beginning of the event. Recruitment projects, such as BioCamp, significantly co-create Novartis employment programs in Slovenia and confirm that the company is looking for talent in an innovative way. Last but not least, for the second consecutive year, Novartis Slovenia received the title of the most reputable employer and the international certificate “Top Employer 2021” for the best employer.

The academic-research sphere is an important contributor to the BioCamp design
In addition to Novartis employees from various countries, partner organizations and faculties also participate at the BioCamp every year, bringing an important scientific and academic side to the event. This year, BioCamp is hosting the EATRIS association in cooperation with the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Ljubljana (UL FFA). Dr. Antonio L. Andreu, the Scientific Director of EATRIS, will be one of the prime guests at BioCamp and will lecture on personalized medicines. EATRIS is a non-profit organization that brings together European centers of excellence in the field of translational research. The purpose of EATRIS is to transfer scientific knowledge into innovative and high-tech products and services in the fields of medicines, diagnostics, vaccines and medical devices. At the same time, during BioCamp, Novartis will host an online workshop in Slovenia on the topic of cooperation between the pharmaceutical industry and the academic sphere, organized by the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Ljubljana as part of the European project EATRIS-Plus. “As a pharmaceutical company, cooperation with academic and research institutions is of key importance, because only in this way can we also contribute to the development of breakthrough innovations and technologies. The Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Ljubljana has been our partner for many years and every year it helps us host their top experts at BioCamp, who present many novelties to the participants of the event. This year we are especially pleased with the mutual cooperation and the fact that we were able to include the EATRIS association in the event,” said Darja Ferčej Temeljotov, Head of Strategic Programs at Novartis Slovenia. BioCamp will also host the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Ljubljana, Prof. Dr. Irena Mlinarič-Raščan, who will participate in the commission for evaluating the best team tasks of the participants. “Cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry is the foundation of the successful development of the Faculty of Pharmacy and thus the formation of an innovative environment for study and research. We have excellent cooperation in the study process and, through hosting experts and joint mentorships of master's and doctoral theses, we take care of the transfer of knowledge and experience and together we address the most difficult challenges in science and profession. This attitude enables the development of human resources, which enriches both institutions and society as a whole and puts Slovenia in a prominent place in the international arena,” added Dr. Irena Mlinarič-Raščan.


The impact of data and artificial intelligence on the pharmaceutical industry
This year's BioCamp is attended by 36 students from 10 countries. The central theme of this year's forum is the impact of data and artificial intelligence on the pharmaceutical industry. Both in Slovenia and across the world, Novartis has recently been investing heavily in equipment and new knowledge in the field of digitalization, automation and artificial intelligence. The development of competencies in the field of bioinformatics, statistics and data science, as well as cooperation with research and development organizations in this field, opens up new possibilities for gaining insight and finding patterns that exceed the capabilities of traditional human-made tools.

The keynote speakers at this year's event will be: Matjaž Tršek, Head of the Development Center Slovenia, Antonio L. Andreu, Scientific Director of the EATRIS association, Jonathan Novak, Global Head of Technical R&D Biologics and Cell & Gene Therapy at Novartis, Dr. Marinka Žitnik, Assistant Professor at Harvard University, Dr. Anja Svetina Nabergoj from Stanford University and Justin Wright, Digital Program Head at Novartis. A special panel will also feature Dr. Zlatko Fras, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ljubljana, and one of the patients who will talk about the personal aspects of medical treatment. In this way, participants will learn why it is crucial to always put the patient at the center of operations. 


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Novartis is the leading provider of medicines in Slovenia, where Lek d.d., Novartis Pharma Services Inc., Podružnica v Sloveniji and Sandoz d.d., operate. Together we are building and maintaining the reputation of a dynamic, ethical, and trusted pharmaceutical company. Lek develops, manufactures, and markets effective, safe, and high quality medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients. With our knowledge, quality, and experience we have gained an important role in Novartis' organizational structure, especially in the Novartis Technical Operations, Global Drug Development, Novartis Business Services, and the generic division Sandoz. We are the leading Sandoz development center, and one of the key development sites for technologically complex projects. We invest a great deal in the development, education, and training of our employees. Over the last nine years, the company has created more than 3,350 new job opportunities, making us one of the biggest employers in Slovenia. Novartis invested in Slovenia more than EUR 2.7 billion since 2003. 

About Sandoz
Sandoz, a Novartis division, is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars. Our purpose is to pioneer access for patients by developing and commercializing novel, affordable approaches that address unmet medical needs. Our ambition is to be the world’s leading and most valued generics company. Our broad portfolio of high-quality medicines, covering all major therapeutic areas, accounted for 2020 sales of USD 9.6 billion. 

About Novartis
Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach nearly 800 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 109,000 people of more than 140 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at www.novartis.com.



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This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.