The Global Research Initiative

Bionorica CEO awards EUR 1 million for new approaches in herbal medicines

Seven x EUR 50,000 for German junior researchers – 20 international prize winners

Prof. Dr. Michael Popp (middle) with the 20 international winners of the Global Research Initiative
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Prize winner Dr. Birgit Kraus, Institute of Pharmacy, University of Regensburg

Mallorca, Spain/Neumarkt i.d.OPf.: “I am extremely pleased about this honor because the prize is exactly what I need to further research at scientific institutions in these current times of reduced government support and tight budgets,” says Dr. Birgit Kraus from the Department of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Regensburg.

Kraus is one of 20 winners at the Global Research Initiative (GRI), which was honored by the Executive Board of German herbal medicines specialist Bionorica at the end of 2013. “I am pleased that so many innovative and promising entries were submitted. Such a large and high-quality response to the first-time call for submissions proves that herbal medicine is gaining further relevance among the scientific community as well,” says Dr. Michael Popp, CEO and owner of the internationally successful manufacturer of scientifically researched herbal medicines, German-based Bionorica SE.

Prof. Johanna M. Brandner, Hamburg-Eppendorf University Medical Center

Dr. Popp will pay out a total of one million euros for the unique herbal medicine research campaign. He is expecting that the 20 prizes of EUR 50,000 each for research will result in new stimulus for the field of herbal medicine to be able to offer patients an even greater variety of products. “In addition to new analysis processes, the focus is also the search for innovative approaches to new development of herbal medicines,” says pharmacist Dr. Popp.

The jury reviewed some 129 submissions from various treatment fields, including respiratory diseases, osteoporosis, gynecological diseases, bladder cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, among others. Seven of the prize winners were from Germany. Dr. Johanna Brandner from Hamburg, for example, deals in medicinal herbs from traditional Chinese medicine and their applications in wound healing.

Dr. Andreas Körberle, Institut of Pharmacy, University of Jena

“I appreciate Bionorica’s support for my efforts in deciphering molecular mechanisms of phytomedicine. This is a field of research which, despite its essential importance for using the full power of nature for human health was neglected for a long time,“ says prize winner Dr. Andreas Köberle from University of Jena, stressing the importance of the prize for his research on a new pharmacological strategy for inflammation-inhibiting medications.

The 20 prize winners from 13 nations received their awards on Sunday, 27 July 2014, within the scope of the international symposi­um “Inflammations – Challenges and Opportunities” at the Bionorica Herbal Medicines Compe­tence Center Sa Canova in Sa Pobla, Mallorca.

“Creating a connection between nature’s healing powers and state-of-the-art methods in science and technology is something that drives and fascinates me,” says Popp. As a researching pharmaceutical company, Bionorica’s main interest is to continuously further decipher the effectiveness of medicinal plants. “We want to combine the best that nature offers us with the best that humans can achieve. To do this one must understand the medicinal plant world, and that is a never-ending process.” Dr. Popp encouraged this year’s prize winners of the Global Research Initiative to continue venturing into the unknown and going down innovative paths.


Bionorica is a manufacturer of herbal medicines and is active in some 50 countries. With its unique quality concept and its focus on consistent standardization of cultivation and production, Bionorica has been able to grow into a worldwide leading company in the promising sector of herbal medicines in the past 15 years.


Global Research Award 2013/14
all 20 Winners by Category

Group 1: Respiratory System

Rebecca Clarke, Queens University Belfast, Ireland, for a novel human in-vitro model to study modulatory properties of plant-based medicines.
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Dr. Claudina Perez Novo, University Hospital Ghent, Belgium, for analysis of the molecular mechanisms involved in the anti-inflammatory action of an herbal preparation on chronic rhinosinusitis.
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Dr. Laura Sadofsky, University of Hull, England, for researching the effect of the natural agonists and antagonists of the airway irritant receptors in vitro.
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Prof. Adil Katarbayev, Kazakh State medical university in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for Preclinical studies of an herbal preparation in acute intestinal infection.
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Dr. Diana Zabolotnaya, National Academy of Medical Sciences, Kiev, Ukraine, for a study of an adjuvant effect of phyto products on antibody formation against influenza virus antigens in experimental animals.
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Group 2: Gynaecology / Osteoporosis

Dr. Annekathrin Keiler and Dr. Oliver Zierau, Technical University Dresden, Germany, for researching the effects of a hops extract on osteoporosis in a rat model.
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Dr. Anastasia Savilova, Moscow State University, Russia, for an investigation the mechanism of action of an herbal preparation on endometrial mesenchymal stromal cells.
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PD Dr. Petra Stute, Inselspital Bern, Switzerland, for researching the impact of black cohosh on hippocampal and hypothalamic gene expression profiles in ovariectomized rats.
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Group 3: Other Indications

Prof. Johanna Brandner, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, for a study on the Effects of Arnebia euchroma extracts on different stages of wound healing.
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Dr. Temuujin Dansranjavin, University of Giessen, Germany, for the Characterization of the epigenetic regulation in prostatitis and prostate cancer by an herbal preparation.
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Dr. Svetlana Kalinina, Perm State Pharmaceutical Academy, Russia, for researching Verbascum nigrum extract as a new complex phytotherapeutic agent.
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Dr. Markus Krohn, University of Magdeburg, Germany, for Defining specific extracts from St. John’s Wort for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
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Dr. Cassandra Leah Quave, Emory University Atlanta, USA, for a study on Botanical natural product inhibitors of acne biofilms.
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Dr. Miroslaw Szczepanski, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland, for Researching anti-cancer effect of an herbal preparation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
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Group 4: Optimisation, new Technologies and Targets

Dr. Camilla Bergonzi, University of Florence, Italy, for Innovative formulations to enhance oral bioavailability of herbal extracts.
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Dr. Andreas Köberle, University of Jena, Germany, for Targeting of bioactive lipid networks: a novel pharmacological strategy for anti-inflammatory phytomedicine.
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Dr. Birgit Kraus, University of Regensburg, Germany, for Correlating the structure of differently substituted chalcones with transcriptome data and bioactivity in liver cells.
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Dr. Denisa Margina, University of medicine and pharmacy Bucharest, Rumania, for Studies on certain biological effects of encapsulated vegetal extracts with known cardio-vascular positive outcome.
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Dr. Stefan Schwaiger, University of Innsbruck, Austria, for researching Natural products with effects on the NPS/NPSR system.
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Dr. Jens Wild, University of Regensburg, Germany, for researching Bactericidal/ permeability-increasing protein as potential new target for antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activities.
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Further Information:


Bionorica Owner: € 1mil Awarded for Research on Medicinal Plants

Owner of market leader sponsors basic research on herbal medicines – For the first time 20 prize winners from all over the world will be awarded €50,000 each

Prof. Dr. Michael A. Popp, CEO and Owner of Bionorica SE

July 17, 2014 - Neumarkt: “With this Global Research Initiative (GRI) we want to provide young researchers with the space they need to pursue their research ideas in the field of herbal medicine without financial pressure.” This is how Prof. Dr. Michael Popp, CEO of the family-owned company in Neumarkt, Bavaria, explains his decision to pledge € 1mil for this unprecedented research initiative.

Starting in October last year promising young scientists from all over the world were invited to apply for the GRI award with their groundbreaking research projects in the field of physiologically active plants or plant extracts. “We expect these 20x €50,000 to give us new impulses for the innovative field of phytomedicine,” says pharmaceutical scientist Popp. “In particular, we are looking for new approaches to botanical compounds to help us develop new preparations which will improve patients’ quality of life and protect their health.”

Eine der über 130 BewerberInnen für den Global Research Initiative - Award von Bionorica

The 20 prize winners from 13 countries are working on remedies for respiratory tract disorders, acne and osteoporosis, among others. Another focus is on new analytical procedures and laboratory techniques. “We had an overwhelming response with over 130 applications,” says Popp. “Our jury from various disciplines had to work quite hard to select the winning projects from all that great research we received.” In order to avoid any bias all entries were anonymized and the evaluation was done in a two-step process.

The GRI-Award ceremony will be held at the international Symposi­um entitled “Inflammation – Challenges & Opportunities” on July 27, 2014, at 3 p.m. at the Bionorica premises in Sa Pobla, Mallorca. Bionorica is expecting over 100 experts from the field of herbal medicine to attend.

Representing the third generation of his family as owners of Bionorica, Professor Dr. Michael A. Popp took over the business in 1989 and has since turned it into the global leader in manufacturing herbal medicinal products. The company focuses on respiratory preparations such as Sinupret, as well as on remedies for gynecological disorders and urinary tract infections. As a research-based pharmaceutical company Bionorica continuously strives to explore the effectiveness of medicinal plants and to safeguard it through standardisation and quality control.


Global Research Initiative: evaluation phase has begun

gri_award.pngMarch 01, 2014 - The first announcement of the Global Research Initiative by Bionorica has met with a broad response. Significantly more than 100 applications for one of the 20 research prizes have been received by Bionorica, the market leader in the area of scientifically researched herbal medicines.

The call went to innovative young scientists who do research either in the field of phytomedicine or on physiologically active plants or plant extracts. After sorting and anonymization of the documents the international jury of experts is now required to identify the most promising candidates. The evaluation is planed as a two-stage process. In the first round specialists in the respective field of research will give their assessments. In the next stage a second panel of jurors will confirm the decision who will win one of the twenty awards each endowed with 50,000 euros for a period of one year.

The jury phase will now continue until early April. Subsequently, the participants will be informed immediatly about the results.

The call for the next Global Research Initiative 2014 is expected to be announced in summer 2014.

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