18. March 2021

University Hospital Basel signs cooperation agreements with Roche and Novartis for its multiple sclerosis research centre

The Research Center for Clinical Neuroimmunology and Neuroscience Basel (RC2NB) has signed long-term cooperation agreements with both Novartis and Roche. The two world-leading pharmaceutical groups previously supported the RC2NB via the Foundation for Clinical Neuroimmunology and Neuroscience Basel, which was founded by the University Hospital and the University in late 2019.

18.03.2021 16:10

The respective joint press releases with the two partners will be published shortly. University Hospital Basel and the University are proud to have been able to sign contracts with these two global players, both of which are headquartered in Basel. It confirms the international recognition of the research in the field of multiple sclerosis being carried out here, further strengthens the links within the Life Sciences Cluster Basel, and also strengthens the RC2NB’s position as an independent body.

Background information:

The objective of the Research Center for Clinical Neuroimmunology and Neuroscience Basel (RC2NB) is to coordinate and further expand on the internationally respected expertise and innovative research into multiple sclerosis (MS) already present in the city through the clinical and research activities of the University Hospital and the University, and network with external research partners. In Workstream 1, it aims to use the development and testing of digital measurement techniques, modern methods of information processing and artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a comprehensive characterisation of the disease process in both MS and other neurological disorders. This improved characterisation will enable new medications to be developed more quickly, as well as create a foundation that will facilitate the development of practical, personalised disease management that is more tailored to the individual patient in the near future.

Research in two further important areas, currently funded by bodies such as the Swiss National Science Foundation and the EU, is also contributing to the Center’s objective. Workstream 2 involves developing and testing innovative imaging technologies and measurement techniques for blood and cerebrospinal fluid, while Workstream 3 will focus on investigating the regulation of the immune system and its interactions with the nervous system.


One body closely associated with the RC2NB’s work is the MS Center at the University Hospital, where an interdisciplinary team of specialist doctors, nurses and treatment assistants, physiotherapists and neuropsychologists work together with practising general and specialist practitioners to treat a large number of patients with MS and other neuroimmunological diseases on an ongoing basis. Many of these patients are also enthusiastic participants in diagnostic and treatment-based trials and long-term cohort studies, thereby creating a foundation for clinically oriented research.

Website: www.rc2nb.unibas.ch/en/home/

Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disorder leading to disability in young adults, with more than two million people affected worldwide. Latest estimates put the figure for Switzerland at around 15,000. Although the cause of MS is still unclear, we do know that problems in the regulation of the immune system lead to attacks on the central nervous system, the development of areas of inflammation and diffuse damage to nerve endings (axons) and their sheaths (the myelin sheath). This in turn leads to a wide range of dysfunctions within the nervous system, such as vision problems, loss of strength and the ability to move, loss of sensation, abnormal fatigue, and concentration, cognitive and memory problems. Early on, these mostly occur in the form of attacks that often resolve completely. However, over time, most patients go on to display a more consistent “chronic” deterioration of the condition. While there are a range of medications available that can prevent attacks, it is only recently that there has been some initial success in attempts to halt the more diffuse, chronic deterioration.