Bristol-Myers Squibb-Sponsored Partnering for Cure™ Programme Announces New Winning Projects Designed to Investigate Novel Ways to Cure Viral Diseases

PARIS, France, 11 November 2014 – The Partnering for Cure faculty of experts today announced the four recipients of awards for research proposals that will help to provide insights into the pathophysiology of viral diseases and the potential development of cure strategies in HIV, hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV). As part of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s ongoing commitment in virology, these awards provide an opportunity for European researchers, particularly junior faculty and young investigators, to accelerate novel solutions that could lead to cures in chronic viral infection.

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The recipients of the 2014 Partnering for Cure research awards include:

  • Elisa De Crignis (the Netherlands) – Human liver organoids: a novel technology to unravel Determinants of HBV infection and persistence
  • Salim Khakoo (UK) – Predictive factors to define candidates for stopping antiviral therapy with Nucleos(t)ides analogues in chronic HBeAg-negative hepatitis B
  • Pedro Borrego (Portugal) – Gene therapy for HIV cure using RNA replicons targeting HIV entry and latency
  • Godelieve de Bree (the Netherlands) – The properties of the lymphoid viral reservoir and the HIV specific CD8+ T cell response in early treatment of acute HIV infection

Bristol-Myers Squibb will allocate over €300,000 to support the four research projects.

The announcement follows a year of intense activity for the programme, reflecting the rapidly evolving arena of HIV and hepatitis cure research. Events bringing together leading physicians and researchers across Europe have focused on topics ranging from the treatment challenges in the management of patients with HIV infection to unresolved cure challenges in HBV and HCV.

Professor Jürgen Rockstroh, Chair of the Partnering for Cure Faculty, commented, “We are delighted to announce this year’s research winners. Since the programme was founded last year, Partnering for Cure has enabled novel research into viral diseases to progress, while also facilitating the exchange of knowledge among industry-leading virology experts. These activities are vital in helping to discover future cures for diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.”

The announcement follows two major scientific conferences held this year that emphasised the still largely unmet medical needs of patients with viral diseases. The 20th International AIDS Conference, held in July, explored progress towards HIV cure and the current scientific and social challenges still faced by researchers, as well as healthcare providers. More recently, this month the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) hosted the annual Liver Meeting which examined recent progress in HCV cure and the treatment options that are now available to patients.

George Hanna MD, Vice President, Virology Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb, remarked “Bristol-Myers Squibb has a long-standing commitment to the fight against viral diseases. Through the Partnering for Cure programme and this latest round of awards, we are pledging our continued commitment to virology education, treatment and research.”

About Partnering for Cure

Partnering for Cure is a European medical education programme developed as part of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s ongoing commitment to virology research, education and transforming clinical outcomes for patients with chronic viral diseases. The programme focuses on recent and ongoing cure research in HIV, HBV and HCV.

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • Provide medical education to physicians interested in virology cure research
  • Provide support to researchers active in virology cure research
  • Provide a forum for physicians and researchers to discuss advances in virology cure

The Partnering for Cure initiative reinforces Bristol-Myers Squibb’s commitment in virology, which is rooted in the company’s legacy in virology and ongoing research in HIV and viral hepatitis. Chronic viral infections make a substantial contribution to the burden of chronic diseases and premature mortality worldwide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that in 2013, more than 1.5 million people died as a result of HIV-related causes.1 WHO also attributes over one million deaths to viral hepatitis infection each year.2 Infections with hepatitis B and C viruses also cause an estimated 57 percent of cases of liver cirrhosis and 78 percent of cases of primary liver cancer annually.3 Whilst important advances have been made over the last decade significant unmet needs and the opportunity for cure remains, >particularly in HIV.

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Commitment to Virology

For over 20 years, Bristol-Myers Squibb has worked collaboratively with the virology community to help meet the needs of patients living with HIV, HBV and HCV – by providing and developing medicines such as Zerit®, Videx®, Sustiva®, Atripla®*, Reyataz®, Baraclude®, Daklinza®, supporting clinical research on new innovative compounds, supporting disease education efforts, and improving access to medicines in the developing world.

Bristol-Myers Squibb supports a number of scientific and educational programs within the virology community around the world that encompass disease education, disease awareness and sharing of best practices. In addition to Partnering for Cure these include SHE® (Strong, HIV positive, Empowered Women/Strong, HIV positive Women Educational Programme), a comprehensive and innovative programme for women living with HIV and their healthcare providers, PATH B® (Patients and professionals acting together for hepatitis B), a joint initiative between hepatitis patient groups and hepatologists to provide comprehensive information and support for patients with chronic hepatitis B.

Additionally, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s philanthropic and educational programmes, such as Secure the Future® and Delivering Hope® aim to support people living with HIV in Africa and with viral hepatitis in Asia, through numerous private-public partnerships and community based projects.

Media: Jeff  Smith  +33(0) 6 03 99 40 18 [email protected]

* Atripla® is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Gilead Sciences, Inc.

  1. World Health Organization. HIV/AIDS statistics. 2014. Available at: Last accessed: September 2014
  2. World Health Organization. Global Alert and Response (GAR): Hepatitis. 2014. Available at: Last accessed: September 2014.
  3. WHO and WHA, Global Policy Report on the Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis, 2013,

Mercury ID: VIRUK14NP09803-01
Date of preparation: November 2014