Cornerstone ceremony of the internationally successful Institut Allergosan
One of Styria’s figureheads, the company Institut Allergosan, is building a dazzling new headquarters in Graz, Austria
This impressive flagship of the pharmaceutical company Institut Allergosan is emerging in the south of Styria’s capital and will stretch over an area of just under 12,500 square metres. On Thursday, the founder, and CEO Mag. Anita Frauwallner celebrated laying the foundation stone together with the mayor of Graz, Mag. Siegfried Nagl.
Personally, as well as in business matters, Anita Frauwallner is a devout Styrian and she proves this through her renewed commitment to this location. “Although Institut Allergosan is an internationally active company, our roots clearly lie in the heart of Styria. It was here that we developed our ideas and visions; it is here that we will continue our research.” Even a large portion of the over 100 employees, the people who made the probiotic specialist one of Austria’s top pharmaceutical companies, are from Styria.
In fact, the company has become so big that there just wasn’t enough space in their old location in Graz. Every year, the company’s revenue has grown in double-digits. “We started out as a single employee in 2002; meanwhile our team has grown to 115 employees”, explains Frauwallner. “We want to be able to offer our employees an inspiring work environment, that matches their exceptional dedication.”
Starting with the building’s completion in autumn 2017, the employees will have access to the 6430 square metres of usable area which the 5-storey building will offer. There is a particular focus on the event centre, which will include a lecture hall for up to 260 people. Moreover, there will be seminar rooms and encounter zones on every floor.
The mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl, is also very pleased by the company’s plans for a new headquarters. “With their research and products, Anita Frauwallner and Institut Allergosan ensure that nothing can upset one’s stomach too easily! Her ideas and innovations have an international impact, but ultimately, they ensure a workplace for many people in Graz.”
Focus: Sustainability and theme-relevant architecture
The construction concept was drawn up by the East-Styrian planning department Architektur 64. The plan pays special attention to the greening of the roof and facade elements, as well as incorporating photovoltaic installations on the roof; these will deliver a substantial amount of the building’s energy demands. This reflects the sustainability of the company’s philosophy. Moreover, the architects didn’t forget Institut Allergosan’s central topic of interest: A highlight of the design is a coiled main staircase located in the foyer. It is a three-dimensional representation of the institute’s main research field, the gut.
“This house we are building, shouldn’t only be used for work. For many, it will be a house of health”, says Frauwallner. The new location will not only continue to be the development site for solutions to health issues. It will offer the possibility for visitors to experience lectures from renowned physicians and researchers. “In these rooms, people should obtain inspiration on how to live long and healthy lives”, says Frauwallner.
Relief for the liver – from the gut
Probiotic from Austrian research is a beacon of hope for people suffering from liver disease
More and more people suffer from liver diseases, especially the feared liver cirrhosis. For many patients this diagnosis means the beginning of a race against time, because at some point the damage to the liver is no longer reversible. Yet a dedicated cooperation between the Medical University of Graz and the competence centre for microbiome research at the institute Allergosan has achieved a breakthrough: A probiotic proves to be a beacon of hope for people suffering from liver disease.
30 % of the population already suffer from liver problems. Contrary to the popular belief that liver damage is primarily caused by alcohol, the number of patients suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is increasing at an alarming rate. Various viral diseases, but especially an excessive consumption of sugar, fat and numerous pharmaceuticals, can severely inhibit the function of our body’s detoxification centre.
What many people don’t realise is that the gut plays a key role in our liver’s health! A balanced intestinal flora and intact intestinal barrier are able to eliminate pathogens and toxic substances beforehand and so unburden the liver. However, if the intestinal mucosa is damaged (“leaky gut”), an increased amount of harmful substances can enter the blood steam via the portal vein. This blood vessel leads directly to the liver and so the liver is flooded with pathogenic substances. This overburdens the liver, causing blood congestion, hardening and often it can no longer fulfil its functions completely.
A cooperation in Graz: A probiotic improves liver function
Associate professor Vanessa Stadlbauer-Köllner’s team from the Medical University of Graz, tested a probiotic (OMNi-BiOTiC® HETOX*) developed by the institute Allergosan from Graz. With these results it could be shown for the first time ever, that extremely small gut bacteria can have a really big influence on liver function.
It was a placebo controlled, double blind study. 101 patients with liver cirrhosis, which were already being treated at the Graz university hospital’s department for gastroenterology and hepatology, were included in the study. Every day, for over the six months, the patients either took the specially developed probiotic or a placebo. Afterwards they were observed closely for another six months. “In this placebo controlled study, the liver function of those who took the probiotic improved significantly”, summarises professor Stadlbauer-Köllner.
Patients with liver cirrhosis generally exhibit increased susceptibility to infections. This makes it even more significant that parameters such as neopterin and respiratory burst, which are closely associated with increased immune activity, show a significantly positive trend under influence of the probiotic. This would also explain the lower infection rate during therapy in the group treated with the probiotic (15 vs 29 in the placebo group).
The tolerability of OMNi-BiOTiC® HETOX and the therapy adherence (98,9% of the doses were taken) were excellent in the probiotic group. In addition, no interactions with other medications were documented, which is especially important when treating high-risk patients such as these. It’s also interesting to note that only one patient from the probiotic group dropped out of the study before it was over, whereas there were 11 drop-outs in the placebo group. “That is notable evidence of an improved quality of life through the probiotic. The patients also claimed that they feel much more energetic and have more social contacts”, said Vanessa Stadlbauer-Köllner.
Mag. Anita Frauwallner, CEO and research director of the institute Allergosan: “The outstanding results of this study are trendsetting for modern medicine, in which microbiome research already plays a definitive role. It’s yet another milestone in our 25 years of work.”
So far there have not been any therapeutic intervention options which could improve liver function in patients with liver cirrhosis. This study from Graz however, clearly shows that with the application of specially developed probiotics such as OMNi-BiOTiC® HETOX, an improvement of liver function is suddenly achievable. The international interest is immense: The study data was presented at the world’s largest hepatology congress, the renowned “Liver Week”, which is organised by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Among the 10,000 submitted works, it was awarded the title “poster of distinction”.
Anita Frauwallner: “We were able to show that OMNi-BiOTiC® HETOX can contribute a large amount towards a healthy liver. On the one hand it targets the root of the problem, and more importantly, none of the serious side effects caused by medication ever arise during the application of probiotics. A crucial step towards a healthy future.”
Sabine Oberhauser was presented with the Madonna Leading Ladies Award
Anita Frauwallner, CEO of Institut Allergosan, presented the award
The doctor and Minister of Health Dr. Sabine Oberhauser received the prize in the category of health at the prestigious annual Madonna Leading Ladies Award in Vienna on 15 September 2015. The award was presented by Anita Frauwallner, CEO and Head of Research of Institut Allergosan, one of the leading centres for microbiome research. "Sabine Oberhauser has shown outstanding courage in the way she has dealt publicly with her own cancer, and has become a role model who has helped and inspired others,” said Anita Frauwallner.
Leading Ladies Award in the field of health
In this category, the Leading Ladies Award is presented to women who have made outstanding achievements in the field of health, or have had to deal with a severe health problem and have done so in an exemplary way.
The other nominees in this category were the Austrian eye specialist Prof. Susanne Binder, who has restored the eyesight of blind people with her operative techniques, and the US biotech businesswoman Elizabeth Holmes. The latter is the youngest self-made billionaire in the world; she invented a special blood test which makes it possible to scan for a multitude of diseases without having to puncture a vein to obtain a sample.
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