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Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Laureate in chemistry, on June 22 gave the Sanofi Prize for Pharmacy to Czech graduate students for their research into three scientific studies dealing with cancer, drug interactions, and preclinical drug development.

The winning students were the pharmaceutical faculty in Hradec Králové, the Medical faculty in Olomouc and the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, who along with the recognition for their shared 100,000 koruna and a prestigious lab internship in France.

The competition for talented Pharmacy students has been held by the French Embassy in Prague in cooperation with the Sanofi Group since 2009.

“Sanofi Group invests some 700 million crowns a year in science and research in the Czech Republic and part of these funds go to University-based research,” explains Filip Hrubý, press spokesman of the Sanofi Group in the Czech Republic, adding that each year the authors of the two best scientific works obtain are granted an internship in a top French laboratory. Moreover, Sanofi splits 100,000 koruna between the top three prize-winners each year.

“Student interest in the competition is constantly growing, as is the quality of the projects submitted,” said Rachid Makhloufi, the Attaché for Science and Higher Education of the French Embassy in Prague and one of the members of the expert jury panel.

The award was presented to the winners by Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, the scientist who in 1987, together with two colleagues, won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of synthetic macrocyclics with structure-specific interactions of high selectivity in binding ions and molecules.

This year, the jury was most interested in the work of Eva Koziolová from the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry at the Czech Academy of Sciences. In it, she explores treatment options for tumours that does not include undesirable side effects. Second place prize went to Tomáš Smutný from the Faculty of Pharmacy in Hradec Králové, who spent recent years studying enzymes that significantly contribute to drug metabolism and are the basis for numerous drug interactions.

“The award is undoubtedly a way to become better known in the wider scientific community. Part of the award is the funding of an internship at one of the scientific laboratories in France. I would very much like to establish fruitful scientific cooperation and deepen my knowledge in the field of molecular pharmaco-kinetics,” says Smutný, adding that he felt very honoured to receive the award considering the very strong field of competitors.

Kristýna Krasulová from Palacký University in Olomouc, who took third place, expressed her agreement. “There was a great deal of competition. My joy in receiving the award is all the greater.” “The opportunity to present the results of my scientific work in English before a panel of experts was a priceless experience,” she says. The award-giving ceremony of scientific prizes by the French Embassy in the Czech Republic was held in Buquoy Palace, the seat of the French Embassy, in the presence of his Excellency Jean-Pierre Asvazadourian, the French Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Sanofi Prize for Pharmacy awards 2016

Place Name Workplace Title of Study
1. Eva KOZIOLOVÁ Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Czech Academy of Sciences ‘Development of polymeric conjugates of drugs effective in the treatment of very resistant solid tumours’
2. Tomáš SMUTNÝ Faculty of Pharmacy in Hradec Králové – Charles University in Prague ‘New in vitro liver models for preclinical drug development’
3. Kristýna KRASULOVÁ Faculty of Medicine, Palacký University in Olomouc ‘Enantio-specific interactions between clinically used drugs and liver cytochrome P450’

 

Updated: February 7, 2017