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Novartis opens the world's largest centre for respiratory research in Horsham, UK

28-02-2001: At an inauguration ceremony in Horsham today, UK Minister of State for Social Care John Hutton opened the new Novartis centre for respiratory research, the world's largest single-site centre devoted to research of this kind. The GBP 40 million (CHF 100 million) facility in the South of England will bring together 180 international scientists to spearhead research into new treatments for diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

"We believe that the Novartis Respiratory Research Centre offers great promise for the discovery and development of the next generation of treatments for sufferers of respiratory disease," said Paul Herrling, worldwide Head of Research at Novartis Pharma. "It builds on the breakthrough science that has led to innovative products such as Foradil®, the first and only fast-acting, long-lasting bronchodilator, and Xolair®, our novel anti-IgE currently in development for allergic asthma and rhinitis."

Respiratory illnesses are growing at an alarming rate. Nearly 150 million people around the world are afflicted with asthma today. In less than twenty years this number will double to roughly the current population of the United States.1 Other conditions such as COPD, which kills 2.5 million people annually, is the fourth leading cause of death in the developed world.1,2

"The need for this type of vital research is illustrated by the recent AIRE study that shows, despite receiving treatment, 46% of asthma sufferers still have day-time symptoms, when the goal should be elimination and reduction of these symptoms", said Professor Peter Barnes, Director of the Department of Thoracic Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute, London, who spoke at the opening.

The Novartis Respiratory Research Centre has attracted leading experts in the field, and will be led by Professor John Westwick, formerly head of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at Bath University, UK. Professor Westwick is best known for his research and extensive publications on the molecular mechanisms of inflammation and pioneering studies into the functional significance of ion channels in inflammatory cells.

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