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Excursion to Roche Diagnostics, Penzberg

On Friday the 26th of September 2014, a group of PhD students of the RIGeL graduate school had the opportunity to visit Roche's main German research and development facility at Penzberg, Bavaria. The trip was oganized by the RIGeL Excursions Group.
Roche is a Swiss-based global health-care company that operates worldwide under the division "Pharmaceuticals" and "Diganostics" with sites in the US, Puerto Rico, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, China, India, Brazil and South Africa. Roche puts great focus on the research of diagnostic tools and pharmaceuticals in oncology, virology and transplantational medicine. The company is the world's leading pharmaceutical company when it comes to spendings for research and development.
After a warm welcome with Coffee, Tee and Pretzels, former Head of Department Diagnostics, Dr. Herbert von der Eltz, introduced the graduate students to the organisation of Roche, its core values and its main areas of research. Stefan Sollfrank, Business Partner in the HR department, followed and illustrated the career opportunities and the various possibilities for graduates to join Roche. After a lunch break at the casino, two talks delivered "hands-on" insights on the resarch and development done at Penzberg. Dr. Stefan Ries from the Pharmaceuticals division highlighted the obstacles, challenges and procedures for developing therapeutical antibodies. Such antibodies, like Avastin or Herceptin, belong to the block-buster therapeuticals of Roche. Subsequently, Dr. Pavel Kubalec, head of the Rare Reagents Development department in the Diagnostics division, gave a detailed insight into how antibodies for diagnostic assays, like early-warning heart-attack-marker assays (Troponin T), are developed modified and incorporated into the diagnostic assays. In the afternoon, the graduate students had the possibility to visit key research facilities of the Rare Reagents Development department. Dr. Pavel Kubalec demonstrated, among other devices, the Cobas and Elecsys immunoanalyzers that are the workhorses of almost every major clinical lab around the world.
All participants saw a great success in the excursion, because they could gain rare insights into the everyday work and the everyday challenges that come with working in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry.


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