NUI Galway Researchers to Represent Ireland at European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference

NUI Galway Researchers to Represent Ireland at European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference -image

Monday, 7 April 2014

Two PhD researchers in NUI Galway’s Civil Engineering department have been chosen to represent Ireland at the 23rd European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (EYGEC) to take place in Barcelona this September. Martin J. Timoney from Keash, Ballymote, Co. Sligo and Brian Sheil, from Mullagh, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, were recently chosen on the basis of their presentations at a national qualifying competition held at the headquarters of Engineers Ireland in Dublin. The annual conference is open to researchers and practitioners, aged 35 or younger, and working in the area of geotechnical engineering. Geotechnical engineering is a branch of civil engineering which looks at the behaviour of soil during construction. In his research, Martin is investigating methods of testing the strength of soil stabilised with a binder, a technique that is used to improve soft ground for roads and buildings. Brian’s research involves studying the behaviour of monopile foundations used for offshore wind turbines. Both students are supervised by Dr Bryan McCabe, lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at NUI Galway and hope to submit their PhD theses in the coming months. -Ends-

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Leaving Cert Students! Get your revision on track at NUI Galway’s Taster Day!

Leaving Cert Students! Get your revision on track at NUI Galway’s Taster Day!-image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

NUI Galway is holding a University Taster Day for Leaving Certificate students during the Easter break. The Taster Day will combine a series of revision sessions on aspects of the Leaving Certificate curriculum, together with some taster workshops in Arts subjects not covered in the curriculum. Participants will gain unique insights into Leaving Cert subjects in revision sessions taught by University lecturers. A choice of 23 subjects is on offer in areas such as English, Irish, French, History, Geography and more. Students will also enjoy taster workshops in University level Arts subjects like Psychology, Economics, Drama, Film Studies and Sociology and Politics. Organiser of the University Taster Day, Joe Mac Donnacha explained: “Students are focused on their revision for the Leaving Certificate at this time of year. The aim of the NUI Galway Taster Day is to help them maximize their revision in key subject areas, while also giving them an enjoyable introduction to some of the subjects taught on the University’s Arts degree.” The Arts degree at NUI Galway is the second largest undergraduate course in the country, attracting over 1,000 new students every year.   Commenting on the ongoing popularity of the Arts degree at NUI Galway for students, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Edward Herring, said: “Arts and Social Science students are very creative. More start-up enterprises are founded by Arts graduates than Business graduates. You find successful Arts and Social Sciences graduates in almost every walk of life. Of course, we need scientists, engineers, doctors, and entrepreneurs but we also need those people who understand and can critique human behaviour, social values and cultural creativity. That is what Arts graduates are trained to do.” The NUI Galway Taster Day runs from 9.30am to 3.15pm on Wednesday, 23 April, in the Arts Millennium Building on the NUI Galway campus. Advanced booking is essential for this FREE revision session and taster day. Bookings can be made online at:  www.nuigalway.ie/university_taster_day. Enquiries should be directed to 091 494 145 or email visit@nuigalway.ie. ENDS

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NUI Galway Hosts Events Across Campus to Highlight Disability Awareness Week

NUI Galway Hosts Events Across Campus to Highlight Disability Awareness Week -image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Students of the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy programme, along with staff of NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, recently held the a Disability Awareness Week - Access All Areas Funded through the EXPLORE project at NUI Galway, the week saw a range of inter-disciplinary events organised all over campus with the aim of raising awareness around disability, diversity and equality in access to higher education and inclusion in society. More specifically, this project aimed at increasing staff, student and public awareness about people with disabilities, with a view to combating stereotypes and promoting the contributions of people with disabilities through a campus-wide awareness week. At the beginning of the week the innovative 'Going to College' Project was showcased. This is a pioneering education initiative supporting the full inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities into NUI Galway. Students currently enrolled at NUI Galway as part of this project, as well as their mentors spoke and shared their experiences. An Employability Seminar was organised on the second day of the week. At the morning seminar attendees, mostly students, heard from representatives from local, national and international organizations working to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. The seminar also addressed issues such as disability awareness within the corporate environment. Speakers included Pauline Dwyer of Employability Galway, Claire Hurley from the NUI Galway Career Development Office, a representative from the Association for Higher Education Access & Disability, and members from the Kanchi initiative, a social enterprise that works with businesses to encourage the employment of persons with disabilities. Highlights during the week included: a seminar on ‘Mental Illness or Psychosocial disability- What’s the difference?’; an Introduction to Irish Sign Language class, a Disability Awareness Workshop; a Disability Equality e-learning module, designed by the National Disability Authority; and a tandem cycle event around campus, organised by the Galway Visually Impaired Activity Club. Students also presented the outcomes of their Accessibility Audit of NUI Galway. The cast of the Blue Teapot Theatre Company also spoke about the recent production, ‘Sanctuary’, a poignant, funny and bittersweet play that explores the lives and relationships of people with intellectual disabilities and the obstacles they must overcome to be together. PhD Candidate Siobhán Purcell of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences at NUI Galway discussed how disability is represented in the Irish literary tradition, particularly exploring the works of Joyce and Beckett. The Awareness Week was an opportunity for the LLM students to apply what they have learnt in practice and work towards dismantling the barriers to inclusion and participation faced by persons with disabilities. The week was effective and meaningful in terms of introducing the disability friendly environment in the college. The Disability Support Office and local organisations also significantly contributed to the week which will be repeated on an annual basis. Throughout the week, the students manned a stand to provide information about the week and from which they also made a film asking students to comment on what disability meant to them. The video is available to view at https://www.dropbox.com/s/gmo1762o53umfjw/WhatDoesDisabilityMean.m4v -Ends-   

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NUI Galway Pancreatitis Therapy First Project Under New EI / Mayo Clinic Medical Technology Development Agreement

NUI Galway Pancreatitis Therapy First Project Under New EI / Mayo Clinic Medical Technology Development Agreement -image

Thursday, 10 April 2014

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny present at the signing of US$16m (€11.7m) collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Enterprise Ireland NUI Galway has signed an agreement with the Mayo Clinic to bring intellectual property (IP) to Ireland allowing the development and commercialisation of a novel medical technology. The agreement, supported by Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital in Dublin, Ireland and Aisling Venture Capital New York will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin this morning. (9am) The device patented by the Mayo Clinic is for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. A team led by Dr Mark Bruzzi of NUI Galway aims to design and develop a prototype device for human clinical use, build on animal studies conducted thus far and advance the therapeutic technology towards a ‘first in man’ clinical investigation. On the commercial side, NUI Galway will validate the market and reimbursement model for the device with the aim of exploiting the commercial potential of the technology in Ireland. The NUI Galway pancreatitis project is the first project in a collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic, USA will see the commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies in Ireland over the next 5 years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD witnessed the signing of the agreement by Jeff Bolton, Vice President Mayo Clinic and Dr Keith O’Neill, Director Lifesciences Commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland in Dublin today (10th April 2014). Acute pancreatitis is an increasingly prevalent condition worldwide with substantial hospitalisation costs, but with no widely accepted therapies or practises for proactive management of the disease. Associated healthcare costs are estimated at €3 billion in the US alone. Professor Vijay Singh at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota developed the device and conducted the initial laboratory testing NUI Galway’s expertise in medical device development presented an opportunity to clinically develop and validate the proposed therapy towards a human clinical study. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said “This exciting agreement builds on the many links between NUI Galway and the Mayo Clinic. It’s a significant endorsement of NUI Galway’s acknowledged strength as a centre for medical device development and commercialisation. I would hope that the support of Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital and Aisling Venture Capital for this agreement will pave the way for further investment in biomedicine, a priority for NUI Galway, in Galway, one of five global medtech hubs.” -ends-

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NUI Galway Statement on the Passing of the Honourable James M. Flaherty

NUI Galway Statement on the Passing of the Honourable James M. Flaherty-image

Friday, 11 April 2014

NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne has expressed his sadness at the news of the passing of former Canadian Finance Minister, The Honourable James M. Flaherty. Jim Flaherty was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at NUI Galway on 29 June 2012, in recognition of his key role as Minister for Finance in steering Canada through the tumult of the Great Recession. Canada, with a well-regulated banking system, was the first major industrial economy to recover its pre-crisis levels of output and jobs.   This achievement, guided by Jim Flaherty, was all the more remarkable given the deep recession in the United States, Canada’s main trading partner.  Dr Jim Browne said “Jim Flaherty was a man of huge vitality and energy. Throughout his long tenure as Canadian Finance Minister, he advocated balanced economic growth, built on a foundation of rigorous regulation. He championed the cause of Ireland both within the IMF and as Chair of the G7, when few others had the courage to do so. His loss will be deeply felt in the West of Ireland, his ancestral home.” On behalf of NUI Galway and on a personal level, I extend sincere condolences to his wife Christine and their three sons. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.   -ends-

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NUI Galway Singers Win Choirfactor Competition

NUI Galway Singers Win Choirfactor Competition-image

Monday, 14 April 2014

The NUI Galway Singers were singing on high after winning the top prize in the 2014 Galway Choir factor Competition which took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday night ( 12th April) Directed by Peter Mannion, the choir saw off stiff competition from GUH Choral Society, Avaya Voice, Something to Sing About, The Medtronic Chorale, The Boston HP Party and the Galway Golf Club Choir to claim the Choirfactor trophy. Specially formed for last year’s Choirfactor competition, the NUI Galway Singers comprises lecturers, administration staff and post graduate students. The 55 member choir delighted Saturday night’s audience with their programme which include Paul Simon’s ‘Homeless’, a Britney Spears Medley and ‘Diffusa est gratia’ by Giovanni Nanni. The choir have performed at the Kiltimagh and Sligo Choral Festivals and their next project is to record a cd of choral music ‘as gaeilge’. Adjudicators for the competition Brendan O’ Connor, Maire Ni Dhuibhir and Dottie Knauer congratulated the NUI Galway Singers for their award winning performance and applauded all the choirs for the very high standard of choral singing. The NUI Galway received a specially commissioned Liam Butler trophy and all choirs received an inscribed commemorative piece of the occasion. Organised by SCCUL Enterprises in conjunction with Corrib Lions Club as a fundraising initiative for Kilcuan Retreat Centre in Clarinbridge, the event attracted a capacity audience of over 700 people. Guest performers on the night were the Marine Institute Singers directed by Carmel Dooley, who won the title at last year’s inaugural event. Speaking after the event, SCCUL Enterprises Chairman John Lenihan thanked the seven choirs and the choir directors who participated in the event for their dedication and commitment to the novel initiative.  “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the seven choirs who took part in the competition. Their conductors Seamus Leonard, Peter Mannion Eoin Grealis, Annemarie Taylor, Pat Lillis, Lisa Seery and Dympna O’Beirne worked extremely hard over the past eight weeks to create a show stopping performance here tonight." Liam Bluett,  General manager of SCCUL Enterprises, paid tribute to the staff of  Ballybane Enterprise Centre for their hard work in organising the competition. “I’d like to thank Michael Smith and the staff of Ballybane Enterprise Centre who worked day and night over the past couple of weeks to ensure everything was in place for this event. I’d also like to thank the members of the Corrib Lions Club for their support in staging this event." A special word of thanks is due to the joint MC’s Brian Duffy and Trisha Murphy, Ed Shiels and musical advisors John Grealish and Christine Canavan for their invaluable expertise,” concluded Liam. Funds raised from the Galway Choir Factor competition will be used to enable a wide variety of groups such as carers, the elderly, multiple sclerosis sufferers, people living with cancer and those bereaved by suicide to benefit from healing therapies and wellbeing workshops in the SCCUL Sanctuary in Kilcuan, Clarinbridge.   ENDS

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8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass Hears From ALISON CEO Mike Feerick on Disruptive Innovation

8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass Hears From ALISON CEO Mike Feerick on Disruptive Innovation-image

Monday, 14 April 2014

Mr. Mike Feerick, MBA (Harvard Business School) and CEO of ALISON and Ireland Reaching Out addressed a group of more than 70 MBA students, MBA alumni and business leaders on the role of disruptive innovation. The 8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in association with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter.   ALISON, the company which Mike Feerick founded, has become a world leader in offering free courses online and was the first MOOC (massive open online course).  This disruptively innovative approach to education has seen him open up the education market through offering courses with no fees and operating a business model that generates operating income from advertising revenue.  Mike said that Innovation centred on "offering new tools for old problems" and believes that "innovation is like a flood, it comes into your business every way except through the front door".  Commenting on the role that education has as a means to empowerment, he signalled the commoditisation of some forms of education that were happening currently and a levelling of the playing field in the sector.  Mr. Feerick found that MBA graduates had a unique ability to process and distil large amounts of data in a time where data was everywhere.   The seminar with lots of audience interaction, participation and questions was very well received.  “This is the 8th event in the NUI Galway Executive MBA Masterclass series which offers MBA students and graduates a chance to hear from leading national and international business experts and we are pleased to run the series in conjunction with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter” said Dr Alma McCarthy, MBA Programme Director.  - ends -      

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NUI Galway Welcomes Prof Benjamin Hudson for Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture

NUI Galway Welcomes Prof Benjamin Hudson for Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture-image

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the NUI Galway will host the inaugural Máirtín Ó Briain Lecture to be given by Professor Benjamin Hudson. The lecture titled “Macbeth – Making a Monster” will start at 4pm in the McMunn Theatre on Tuesday, 29 April and will be followed by refreshments. Members of the public are particularly welcome. The lecture will mark the tenth anniversary of the death, at the age of 53, of the Irish scholar and academic Máirtín Ó Briain. Máirtín Ó Briain was a renowned scholar of Irish language and literature, an internationally acknowledged expert on the Fiannaíocht tradition of Ireland and Scotland, a member of The Irish Manuscripts Commission, and of the Irish Folklore Society. Máirtín was held in the highest regard by his colleagues but especially by his students, many of whom went on to pursue careers in the field of Celtic Studies. Professor Hudson is Professor of History and Medieval Studies at Penn State University and an internationally acknowledged expert on the Atlantic, especially the maritime sphere of Ireland, Britain, and the Isle of Man in the Middle Ages. He is the author of a large number of books including Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), and Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). More information is available from Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Department of Irish, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway at 091 493369. -ends- Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture Fógartha ag Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh An tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal ‘Macbeth - Making a Monster’ Tionólfar Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain faoi choimirce Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr mar chomhartha ómóis do Mháirtín Ó Briain. Is é an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, Penn State University a thabharfaidh an léacht Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn in OÉ Gaillimh. Deich mbliana go ham seo a d’imigh uainn, in aois a 53 bliain, an scoláire teastúil Máirtín Ó Briain. Mar chomhartha ar an meas agus ar an ngean a bhí ar Mháirtín, agus mar chomóradh ar thráth a imeachta uainn, reáchtálfaidh Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, Léacht Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Lecture ina onóir. Deis a bheas i Léacht Uí Bhriain an réim idirnáisiúnta a bhain le saothar an Bhrianaigh a mhóradh agus a chuimhne a bhuanú. Cé gur beag réimse de Léann na Gaeilge ón Oghamchraobh aniar nach raibh suim agus saineolas ag Máirtín ann, ba í an Fhiannaíocht a chéadrogha agus sméar mhullaigh an léinn aige. Is é a sheanchara dílis an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise in Penn State University, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal “Macbeth – Making a Monster”.  Tá aithne idirnáisiúnta ar an Ollamh Hudson mar shaineolaí ar mhuirchríoch an Atlantaigh sa Mheánaois, go mór mór ar an trácht mara idir Éirinn, Manainn, agus an Bhreatain. I measc a chuid leabhar, tá Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), agus Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn, a thabharfar an léacht. Beidh sólaistí le fáil ina diaidh. Cuirfear fáilte chroíúil roimh chuile dhuine go mór mór roimh an bpobal. Tá eolas breise le fáil ó Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Roinn na Gaeilge, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí, agus na gCultúr, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 091-493369. -críoch-

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NUI Galway’s School of Law Hosts a Franco-Irish Discussion on Marriage Equality

NUI Galway’s School of Law Hosts a Franco-Irish Discussion on Marriage Equality-image

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The School of Law at NUI Galway, in association with the French embassy in Ireland, will host a Franco-Irish discussion on marriage equality. The discussion will take place on Friday April 25th at 12pm at AM150 the Martin Ó Tuathail Theatre, and is open to the public. The keynote speaker is Erwann Binet, deputy of the French National Assembly. Deputy Binet was the rapporteur for the French “mariage pour tous” (marriage equality) bill in 2013 and will speak on the political challenges faced in passing the bill through the French parliament. Dr Eoin Daly of the School of Law said: “Whereas marriage equality was legislated for in France without a referendum – despite significant political and public opposition - the Irish government has committed to holding a referendum to legalise same-sex marriage in 2015, as it believes that the Constitution in its current form would prevent this from being introduced through ordinary legislation.” He added: “More than three quarters of the members of the Constitutional Convention recommended that the Constitution should be amended for provide for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Parallel to the debate on marriage rights, there has been move towards legislative reform concerning assisted reproduction and adoption rights in both countries.” The event, chaired by Dr Eoin Daly, will provide an insight on the shared experience of Ireland and France in undertaking legislative and constitutional reform in controversial areas of family law. For queries contact eoin.daly@nuigalway.ie  091 493362 -ends-

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Orbsen Therapeutics In €6M Research Funding Success

Orbsen Therapeutics In €6M Research Funding Success-image

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Orbsen Therapeutics, a spin-out from NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), will partner with the University of Birmingham in the €6 million EU FP7 funded MERLIN project to develop a cell therapy inflammatory liver disease Orbsen Therapeutics is Irelands leading Cell Therapy biotechnology company and is a spin-out from NUI Galways’ Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI).  The EU FP7-funded project known by the acronym “MERLIN” (MEsynchymal stem cells to Reduce Liver INflammation) is led by Professor Phil Newsome, Clinical Director of the Birmingham University Stem Cell Centre. MERLIN will advance Orbsen’s proprietary cell therapy to a Phase 2a clinical trial in patients with inflammatory liver disease. This MERLIN project will evaluate the Orbsen cell therapy in 4 different research laboratories across Europe and the project will culminate in a Phase 2a clinical trial of the therapy in the crippling inflammatory liver disease, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. This is Orbsen’s fourth success in attracting FP7 funding (the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research), making them one of Ireland’s most successful private companies in this funding programme and now connects Orbsen to 23 global collaborators. Other successful cell therapy projects for Orbsen include PURSTEM (completed), REDDSTAR (ongoing) and DeCIDE (ongoing). Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd. is a privately-held company founded in 2006 as a spin-out from Ireland’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in NUI Galway. As part of the PurStem EU FP7 program, Orbsen developed proprietary technologies that enable the prospective purification of highly defined and therapeutic (stromal) cells from several human tissues, including bone marrow, adipose tissue and umbilical cord. Orbsen’s CEO Brian Molloy said, “Orbsen has secured substantial amounts of research funding in the last 18 months which will further validate our product and bring us through to a “first in man” clinical trial in 2015/16. Our model has always focused on putting the ‘science first’ and we have successfully used that approach to develop a technology that could potentially position us and indeed Ireland at the leading edge of European Cell Therapy development.” Mr Molloy continued, “As a spin-out from the NUI Galway based REMEDI Institute we have focused the majority of our collaborations with an Irish research team. Our success in the MERLIN project now demonstrates that we are capable of playing a key role in collaborations led by researchers across Europe.” The total research budget for the MERLIN project is close to €6 Million of which €1 Million will go directly to Orbsen Therapeutics over the 4-year period of the project. Dr Stephen J Elliman, Head of Research for Orbsen Therapeutics added, “The EU projects, like MERLIN have enabled us to build a very strong research network of 23 invaluable collaborators across Europe, who are independently validating our technology and aiding our development toward the clinic and market. In addition, the FP7 program has helped us develop a research team of 14 over the past 18 months – these are all highly qualified researchers who are working within Orbsen to develop our cell therapy for conditions that are currently not adequately treated with existing medicines. MERLIN allows us to further expand our pipeline and to develop our understanding of how adult mesenchymal stromal cells can aid the treatment of a range of immunological and inflammatory conditions.” The MERLIN project commenced in February 2014 and will run for 4-years culminating in a Phase 2a clinical trial in primary sclerosing cholangitis (an uncommon condition affecting the bile ducts and liver). The project is being co-ordinated by University of Birmingham and includes the NHSBT in the UK, Orbsen Therapeutics in Ireland, Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Fondazione Humanities per la Ricerca in Italy and BioInvision Inc. in the US. Pintail Ltd are based in Dublin and are providing administration and co-ordination services to the MERLIN project. The novel aspects of Orbsen’s technology place it at the leading edge of research, development and regulatory compliance of adult mesenchymal stromal (stem) cell therapies. The Orbsen cells can be purified from a single human donor, expanded and frozen to generate many doses of high-margin, allogeneic (“off-the-shelf”) therapeutic products for conditions with unmet need. Orbsen’s proprietary ORB1-MSC (Orbsen developed mesenchymal stromal cells) therapy is being developed for several diseases, including inflammatory disease of the lungs and liver, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, joint disease, kidney injury, organ graft rejection and wound repair. For further information on Orbsen Therapeutics visit www.orbsentherapeutics.com   -Ends-

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