Novartis today opened its eleventh annual International Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp), a three-day seminar bringing biotechnology and business experts together with more than 60 selected students from leading international universities in 25 countries and territories focused on the challenges of a growing aging population.
According to the World Health Organization, the population of people 60 years of age and older has doubled since 1980 and is forecast to reach 2 billion by 2050, when this age group will outnumber children up to 15 years of age. While supported by better scientific understanding of childhood diseases and stronger maternal healthcare, this shift brings complex healthcare challenges to governments, providers and the public. At BioCamp, students and experts explore these challenges and potential solutions.
"A rapidly-expanding aging population and the rise of chronic diseases are forcing changes in healthcare. These changes also offer an opportunity to rethink the model for treating patients," said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. "All healthcare system stakeholders need to collaborate and align on the common goal of improving outcomes, instead of focusing on their individual transactions. This is the only way we can control costs and provide care for an aging population."
In addition to remarks from Mr. Jimenez, presentations from Novartis experts will focus on critical issues facing the global healthcare system and economy. Discussion topics include the company's regenerative medicine programs and the impact of aging on eye health. The program also features a talk by Dr. Ferath Kherif, leader of 'The Human Brain Project', an EU Flagship initiative in which scientists of 112 institutions in 24 countries bring biology and modern information technologies together to better understand the human brain and its diseases.
International BioCamp participants interact with key Novartis scientists who lead the company's unique approach to drug discovery and learn about breakthrough medicines to address patients' unmet medical needs. The interactive program is designed to help students understand trends and challenges in the biotechnology and life-sciences sectors, as well as receive first-hand experience about starting and running a biotech company. BioCamp also allows students to explore career opportunities in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and network with talented students from other countries.
During BioCamp, students will have the opportunity to visit Novartis laboratories and meet with researchers who believe they now have a better understanding of the biology around vision loss, muscle wasting and hearing and balance disorders to treatments for an aging population. The program is set at the Novartis Campus in Basel, global headquarters of the company and home to approximately 7 500 associates.