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New institute for eye research in Basel

The University of Basel, University Hospital Basel and the pharmaceutical company Novartis are launching a new institute for eye research in Basel to develop new treatments for eye diseases.

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Image Credit: Universität Basel

The Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel (IOB) will begin operations in 2018. According to a statement announcing its launch, it will be the first institute of its kind to bridge basic and clinical science for eye diseases within one organization. Its goal is to better understand eye diseases and develop new treatment possibilities for patients suffering from vision loss. 

IOB will be led by two world-renowned experts in the field of ophthalmic research and ophthalmology: Botond Roska and Hendrik Scholl. Roska is a pioneer in fundamental research on the retina and the processing of optic signals in the brain. Scholl chairs the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Basel and is head of the Eye Clinic of University Hospital Basel. He specializes in medical and surgical management of retinal diseases.

The founding partners commit to fund the IOB for its first 10 years. Novartis will contribute 10 million Swiss francs per year in the first five years and the University of Basel 2 million francs per year. The canton of Basel-Stadt has committed to contribute 5 million francs per year should parliament agree to the plan. 

The canton of Basel-Stadt submitted an application to the Grand Council for a state contribution of up to 12.51 million francs for the years 2018 to 2021.  Novartis has said that it will not assume more than 50 per cent of the total contributions. 

IOB will be constituted as a foundation and will grant academic freedom to its scientists. The canton of Basel-Stadt describes the new institute as a major signal of Basel of location for research and business.

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