Zendal rewards the GENVIP research group and pays homage to the scientist María Vallet in the first edition of its awards.

  • The Regional Minister of Economy, Employment and Industry, Francisco Conde, was responsible for the closing ceremony of the awards.
  • On the occassion that marks the anniversary of the Balmis Expedition, which set out from the port of A Coruña on the 30th of November 1803 and is considered the first ever international healthcare venture.

Vigo, the 28th of November 2019. The Zendal biopharmaceutical group held the first edition of the International Zendal Awards at the Barríe Foundation in Vigo. The celebrated scientist María Vallet-Regí and GENVIP, a paediatric research group focussed on the study of infectious diseases and vaccines from the University Hospital of Santiago de Compostela, were the main protagonists of the ceremony. The act was attended by The Regional Minister of Economy, Employment and Industry, Francisco Conde, and several members of the Scientific Committee who made up the judging panel, such as Juan José Badiola, Miguel Ángel Llamas or Ramiro Casimiro, from the Spanish Medicine Agency.

“These Awards acknowledge the effort of professionals, entities and organisms that through their work and dedication manage to convey science to society, making progress in the area of healthcare and quality of life”, said the managing director of Zendal Andrés Fernández to the audience at the beginning of his speech. A talk in which he also emphasised the high quality of the nominees to the awards and the professional prestige of the honoree María Vallet-Regí. “ The Zendal Awards clearly show that in Spain there is enough talent to face the future with courage”, he concluded.

After that, Doctor Carlos Martín Montañes, senior fellow of Microbiology at Zaragoza University, gave a speech on “ Vaccinations in the fight against infectious diseases”, during which he pointed out the enormous social value that vaccines as a method to prevent illness have provided throughout human history. GENVIP, the research group led by Dr. Martinón and Professor Salas, were the winning nominees in this first edition. Both highlighted during the ceremony that, “This recognition is a stimulus to continue doing what we do within a young multidisciplinary group in which we believe that excellence in healthcare is only possible through excellence in research. The model we advocate works and we want it to be contagious”, they ascertained. They also added in their thank you speech that “the real diffusion is in the superb group they managed to set up (they count on 40 specialists) as well as the international research networks they coordinate from their headquarters.”

This is for us an ideal moment to receive an award. Our work knows no time limits nor despondency, we research to try to resolve our patients’ problems and so that the solutions can be applied to other children and in other places”, they declared in their conclusion.
Next was the turn of the honoree Dr. María Vallet-Regí, that addressed the public movingly: “ This recognition gives me great joy and has allowed me to be acquainted with the biopharmaceutical group Zendal, a leader in biotechnology that is one hundred percent Spanish. I am an example that with a lot of effort and risk taking “it can be done”.

In her address she wished to draw attention to the name Isabel Zendal, regarded as the first nurse to take part in an international humanitarian mission. “The International Zendal Awards take the surname of a courageous woman with a wonderful story behind her, Isabel Zendal. She was way ahead of her time, taking the smallpox vaccine to Mexico and the Phillipines in 1803 and furthermore she was recruited with the same pay as the men who had the same training and functions, that is why for me as a woman this award is also an honour to receive.”

Finally, Vallet-Regí explained that she and her team “are now currently absorbed in the search for remedies to combat bone diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis or infections, by producing nanocarriers in which they introduce antitumor medicines to destroy cancer cells”. “ Bringing these scientific developments to the patients’ bedside is for us the greatest challenge”, she acknowledged. Francisco Conde, the Regional Minister of Economy, Employment and Industry, closed an event that places Zendal in a privileged role within international biotechnology and adds momentum to organize a new edition of the awards in 2020.