Wednesday, September 28, 2011
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Leaders from Mayo Clinic and St. Anne's University Hospital Brno – International Clinical Research Center (ICRC), Czech Republic, have signed a legal agreement formalizing research collaborations and a long-term relationship. The action comes after seven years of an evolving research-based relationship and the financial support of a major grant from the European Union and the Czech government.
"We are very pleased and excited at this mutual success and that we can continue to work together for the benefit of patients everywhere," says Tomas Kara, M.D., Ph.D., ICRC chairman.
Dr. Kara and Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic cardiologist, were instrumental in establishing the collaboration and the ICRC. Eric Wieben, Ph.D., Mayo's associate dean for external collaborations, praised the pair for their "perseverance and hard work, without which this project would not have become reality. Now, as a result, many people will be helped."
Executive Dean for Research Robert Rizza, M.D., also emphasized the good that will come from the resulting clinical research.
"The health of thousands of people, initially in the area of Brno, but eventually across Europe and beyond, will be improved by this effort," says Dr. Rizza, the Earl and Annette R. McDonough Professor. "This is a very important undertaking."
The collaborators were recently awarded a $220 million EU infrastructure grant to construct the new ICRC building in Brno on the site of St. Anne's University Hospital. The Czech government also contributed significantly. Initial research will focus on cardiology and neurology, but will expand to other clinical areas as well. Dr. Kara has characterized the ICRC as a "space station for health research" that will draw collaborators from Europe and beyond.
Dr. Somers paraphrased Winston Churchill, calling the signing "not the end or the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning. We have much work to do and we are eager to move forward."
The document was signed by Dr. Kara; Petr Koska, CEO of St. Anne's Hospital; and Vit Dockal, Ph.D., head of the ICRC Project Management Office. Signing for Mayo were Drs. Rizza and Somers and legal counsel Nickie Bruce.
Dr. Jan Hruaák, director of Research and Development Section at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, also attended the signing ceremony.
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