1. Novartis-Calvin Stiller Chair in Xenotransplantation
Donor and Funding: This Chair is made possible through a generous gift from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. of $1.5 million, to be fully expended over a seven-year term.
Under the terms of an existing agreement between Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., The University of Western Ontario and The John P. Robarts Research Institute, the University will establish the Novartis-Calvin Stiller Chair in Xenotransplantation, tenable at the Robarts Research Institute. This arrangement recognizes the relationship between the University and RRI for the purposes of scientific research.
Effective Date: December 1, 2000
Appointment of the Chair: An appointment to the Chair has been conducted in accordance with the relevant policies of the University and RRI. Members of the selection committee included Bill Bridger, VP Research; Carol Herbert, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry; Dr. Calvin Stiller; Bill Wall, Dept. of Surgery; Bhagi Singh, Dept. of Immunology; and Yvonne Cramer, Novartis. Incumbents of the chair will be senior scientists specializing in transplant research. The incumbent will be an employee of RRI and receive an appointment in the Department of Surgery at the level of Professor.
Dr. David White, from Cambridge, England will be the first incumbent of the Chair, appointed to a five-year rolling contract (no tenure).
Criteria: The primary role of this Chair will be to engage in research centred on a genetic solution to the problem of organ rejection by recipients. Animal organs transplanted into human (xenotransplantation) are even more likely to be rejected by the recipient than human organs, requiring a new genetic technology. The Chair may also engage in some teaching activities. A Chair Management committee, as outlined in the agreement, will determine the use of the funds available and establish the scope of the Chair Program, as well as any modifications that may occur during the course of the program. The Committee may also create prizes and scholarships and appoint postdoctoral fellows to facilitate the creation of the Chair Program.
Reporting: The University shall provide written reports on the progress and advancement of the Chair Program to Novartis every six months, and it shall provide a final report not later than twelve months at the end of the program.
The name of the Chair will be mentioned in any scientific or public activity in the medical community in which the holder of the Chair, new recruits, students and post-doctoral fellows engaged as part of the program participate.
The Novartis-Calvin Stiller Chair in Xenotransplantation was originally proposed in 1998 as an endowed position. Since that time, it has been agreed with Novartis that the gift would be expended over a seven-year period. An amended agreement between all parties is currently being prepared by Novartis.
At the time the gift was first made in 1998, UWO became the first university to be home to a Chair focused on research related to the use of animal organs in humans. Xenotransplantation has the potential to solve the chronic shortage of human organs, with current demand as much as 10 times greater than the supply. The gift from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. will allow Western to hire one of the world's top transplant researchers to operate the program at RRI. The chair is named in honor of Dr. Calvin Stiller, who launched London's transplant program in 1972 and is credited with making London a world centre for monitoring and preventing organ rejections.
As outlined in the agreement, upon the appointment of the Holder of the Chair, the University and/or RRI will undertake to file an application with the Medical Research Council of Canada (now the Canadian Institute of Health Research) within the scope of the MRC-PMAC Partnership (or new equivalent) program for which the project qualifies.
Brief Profile of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.:
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. is a research-based pharmaceutical company with a wide-ranging program for the discovery, development, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of medicine to improve the health of Canadians. The international parent company, Novartis, was created in 1996 when the shareholders of Sandoz and Ciba-Geigy agreed to the merger of the two Basel-based Swiss enterprises, marking the largest corporate merger in history and creating the largest pharmaceutical company in Canada at that time. Novartis operates 275 affiliates in 142 countries.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. has supported numerous research projects through the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry for researchers associated with UWO, RRI and LHSC-UC.