LuminOva wins the 2015 Bertarelli Prize with their groundbreaking IVF tool

The culmination of the academic year at Harvard University’s iLab is the awarding of the Bertarelli Prize to the winner of the Dean’s Health and Life Sciences Challenge.  This year it was the turn of LuminOva to walk away with the prestigious award and a cheque for $40,000.

LuminOva was formed to address the problem of infertility which affects 15 per cent. of couple around the world and the relatively low success rates of current IVF treatment.  LuminOva’s technology is non-invasive diagnostic techniques which is able to  assess eggs and embryos in terms of the quality and viability.  LuminOva’s technology measures fluorescence signals and from that derives the metabolic state of embryos.  This means that clinicians will then be able to select only the very best embryos for implantation.  The result of this is not only increased success rates, but also a reduction in the number of multiple pregnancies, an often unwanted

Alexandra Dickson explained the origins of LuminOva and why they are so committed to making progress with their technology:

“What makes us so passionate at LuminOva is that we see a field where there hasn’t been much innovation taking place, things haven’t changed that much in the industry and we really feel that a simple technology like ours can really make a huge impact.”

LuminOva intends to use their prize to engage with regulatory attorneys to help the company develop their road-map to market.  They hope that very soon they will be able to move their technology from the laboratory and into the clinic so they can begin impacting the lives of patients.

Creative Youth Minds launches at North Staffordshire’s YMCA

The Bertarelli Foundation is delighted to be working with YMCA North Staffordshire (YMCANS) on a project called Creative Youth Minds. Over the course of a year creative workshops at the YMCA’s campus – all led by local artists – will help young people to develop new skills, showcase hidden talents and create opportunities for their future. At the workshops the young people will have the chance to work with textiles, learn about photography, express themselves through drama, create beautiful ceramics, and produce shorts films.

A resource and training fund has also been created to support young people in developing careers in the creative industries, while the Foundation is also offering young people at YMCANS the opportunity to take part in overseas work and development through an international bursary.  Kirsty Bertarelli, talking about the new partnership, said:

 “I was lucky enough to visit YMCA North Staffs last year and was inspired by the young people I met – inspired by their energy, enthusiasm and imagination. I’m thrilled that Creative Youth Minds will help them to continue to unlock their huge potential.”

Danny Flynn, the YMCA’s Chief Executive, said:

“We share a passion for this city and its fantastic young people. We also share a view that given the right opportunities and challenges, young people from this city can be world changers.

“This city has a great heritage of creativity – its brilliant people continue to send products around the world. Our shared vision is to unlock the amazing, latent talent of young people and send them out into the world.  We want to thank Kirsty for her leadership, passion and heart for the young people of this city and beyond.”

The Bertarelli Foundation Chair of Family Entrepreneurship is announced at Babson College

The Bertarelli Foundation has funded a new faculty chair at Babson College in Massachusetts with a $3 million gift. The Bertarelli Foundation Distinguished Professor of Family Entrepreneurship will lead a “multidisciplinary approach to family enterprise, where the family, not the business, is the focus.”

The gift agreement, signed by Dona Bertarelli and Babson President Kerry Healey, was made at the 2014 Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference in London, Ontario, where more than 400 leading academics and doctoral researchers gathered.

Also announced at the conference is a new research prize, named for Ernesto Bertarelli (who graduated from Babson in 1989) in “recognition of his family’s track record in fostering entrepreneurship.” The Bertarelli Prize will reward $2,500 to best family entrepreneurship paper presented at the conference.

“Family entrepreneurs face a unique challenge,” said Dona Bertarelli . “As their businesses grow or change, they, too, need to adapt and evolve. At the same time, they need to preserve the original and special strengths, passions, and entrepreneurial characteristics of the family as they move in new directions. Through this faculty chair and our partnership with Babson College, we will have the opportunity to study this dynamic and help a new generation of individuals become tomorrow’s family entrepreneurs.”

Babson President Kerry Healey said: “Families are the dominant form of business organization worldwide and they play a leading role in the social and economic wealth creation of communities and countries,” Healey said. “For almost a century, Babson has been at the forefront educating entrepreneurial families and conducting research and programming to help family enterprises achieve continued growth. Thanks to the generosity of the Bertarelli Foundation, we will make even greater strides developing the entrepreneurial mindsets and capabilities that enable business families to think and act more entrepreneurially in all contexts.”

Family entrepreneurship has been at the core of Babson College from its founding. The institute that later became Babson College was established to educate the sons of businessmen to join their fathers’ businesses. Babson’s vast experience with family businesses includes nearly a century of teaching, research, and programming for students, alumni, and friends of the College. As part of its Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, Babson is a founding member of the Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) project, a global applied research initiative exploring the entrepreneurial process within business families and generating solutions that have immediate application for family leaders.

Transformation of Parc de la Garenne begins

In today’s ceremony, a foundation stone was laid in a ceremony to mark the start of the project that will transform and reinvigorate the Parc la Garenne in Le Vaud.

Founded almost 50 years ago by Erwin Meyer, the Garenne park is a much-loved place for families and children to learn about, and interact with, animals and flora native to Switzerland. However, due to its age, it has been in urgent need of regeneration, with facilities requiring an upgrade in order to continue to host both animals and visitors.

An appeal was duly launched and yesterday marked proof of its success, with the project’s first stone laid and sealed by M. le Conseiller d’Etat Philippe Leuba. The Bertarelli Foundation, in partnership with the Oak Foundation, the Mava Foundation and another that wishes to remain anonymous, has financed 40% of the total project, while the regional government and other private donors have also contributed significantly. All told, CHF12.7 million have been raised out of the total cost of CHF14.5 million. Donations from businesses and individuals to meet the gap will now be sought.

Once complete the park will be completely transformed and will cover some 30,000m². New buildings will include a health centre for wild animals in need of care, as well as the facilities to breed endangered flora and fauna. As befitting a place hugely popular with children, the project also places a big emphasis on education and a large, multi-purpose room will facilitate classes, will screen films and will show exhibitions. Throughout, the zoo will be designed with the utmost respect for the animals that it will house, particularly with regards to recreating natural conditions as far as possible.

Dona, Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli attended the ceremony on behalf of their family’s Foundation. In her speech at the event, Dona spoke of how they had been one of the many thousands of families to have loved the zoo as children. And so, when they heard about the appeal for funds “we almost immediately said yes, my mother first!” She then spoke of how their only stipulation was that it should be a project with a collective dynamic, all the better to ensure its sustainability, and so expressed thanks to the partner foundations and public bodies who had made it possible.

The work to transform the park should, weather permitting, take about two years, with the opening in early 2016.

Dona Bertarelli’s speech at the event can be read here.

 

Aldatu Biosciences wins the inaugural Bertarelli Prize at Harvard’s iLab

At the concluding event of the 2014 Dean’s Health & Life Science Challenge, Aldatu Biosciences was selected as the winner of the inaugural Bertarelli Prize – an impressive achievement for a young company with huge potential.

Aldatu Biosciences was founded at the iLab by David Raiser and Iain MacLeod to further their efforts to apply PANDAA (Pan-Degenerate Amplification and Adaptation) technology to the challenge of detecting drug resistant strains of HIV.  PANDAA is a familiar technology to many in the scientific community but Aldatu Bioscience have applied it in a novel way to great effect.

Drug resistance is already a huge problem and Iain McLeod be believes the problem is only getting worse:

“Year on year, both transmitted and acquired resistance to HIV antiretroviral is increasing around the world.  When a Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute study started in 2010, about 4 per cent. of women who were coming into antenatal clinics had resistance. Now it’s up to 10 per cent.”

Aldatu Biosciences are entering an exciting stage of their development and intend to use their prize to help further their existing relationships with health professionals in East Africa where there is urgent need for improved detection of drug resistance.

The Bertarelli Foundation is a keen supporter of entrepreneurs in the life science sector, and especially those that can make practical improvements to the health and well-being of large numbers of people.  Aldatu Biosciences is an excellent example of a young company with big ideas and the drive and desire to make a difference.

The Bertarelli Foundation announces support for Harvard Business School’s iLab

Ernesto Bertarelli, co-Chair of the Bertarelli Foundation, has announced the creation of the Bertarelli Foundation Health and Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Fund with a generous gift to Harvard Business School.

The fund will support activities at the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab), which leverages entrepreneurial spirit throughout the University and shows the unlimited possibilities unleashed when individuals from a wide range of fields but with a shared passion are brought together. In particular, the fund will support the Deans’ Health and Life Sciences Challenge, launched in 2012 and chaired by Nitin Nohria, Dean of Harvard Business School and Jeffrey S. Flier, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Dean Nohria commented:

“Our Deans’ Challenge was created to accelerate the development of innovative solutions and help position Harvard University as the pre-eminent institution in health care and life sciences. With the generous support of the Bertarelli Foundation, we hope this challenge will inspire innovative solutions to major problems in the world’s health care system by advancing new cures and therapies, developing new ways to apply information technology, and designing new health care systems to deliver affordable health.”

Earlier this year, the Bertarelli Foundation made two additional gifts to Harvard University. Driven by the power of scientific teamwork, the foundation gave $6 million to expand the Bertarelli Program in Translational Neuroscience and Neuroengineering at HMS and EPFL. A second gift of $3 million established the Bertarelli Catalyst Fund for the Dean of HMS, with the goal of enabling key research opportunities at the school.

The Bertarelli Foundation helps to clean up Lake Geneva

Net’Léman, the 6th annual Lake Geneva Cleaning Day, took place this week when enthusiastic volunteers helped to clear the lake of waste and rubbish in an event which was supported by the Bertarelli Foundation.

Despite the rainy weather, hundreds of volunteers and 270 divers cleaned the shores and waters of the lake. Later, they moved on to the task of sorting the waste which is always an interesting part of the day. Among the 10 tons collected from the various locations around the lake, there were some unexpected discoveries:  two safes (empty!) one microwave, three TVs, an old typewriter and even a revolver…!

Net’Léman is always a great occasion for the local community to come together and show their commitment to the preservation of their local environment in a friendly atmosphere.  Children had the opportunity to enjoy the various animations and workshops organised in the nine areas by the side of the lake. This year the main theme was water saving and how uncontrolled waste and pollution can ruin natural resources.

First Bertarelli Foundation Creative Minds

The Bertarelli Foundation initiated and sponsored the inaugural Creative Minds Festival. Held at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent (UK), the fantastic week-long festival of the arts was a major local event, bringing together 34 schools and community groups.

From mid-May to early July, the participants (more than 550 in total) involved worked on creating short films, new and reworked songs, music, visual arts and pieces of drama. They worked with leading, world-class arts practitioners who inspired performances and gave hands-on experience.

But there was even more: people from Stoke were also invited in to celebrate the region’s creativity of the region during the day and to take part in one of many artistic workshops.

After 4 evening shows during the week, participants were invited to attend an Awards Ceremony on Sat July 7. The jury tasked with judging the entrants was composed of Kirsty Bertarelli, Suzanne Collins and Ian Moore and together they had to select winners in each category: Best Choir, Best Solo Performance, Best Drama, Best Art Design, Best Film, Best Musician, Best Performance, Best Digital Artwork.

The last prize of the evening, The Bertarelli Foundation Award went to YMCA Hanley and their solo singer Liccy Lockitt.

Kirsty Bertarelli, who grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, attended the Festival and commented: « The inaugural Creative Minds Festival has been fantastic, beyond my wildest dreams.  I really wanted to help and be able to put something back into the area – and it’s great I can do that through creativity.  The schools have got right behind it and it’s great because it helps young children express themselves through all the arts – music, drama, film, art and design. It’s quite unique in the breadth of experience it is offering.”