What does this Only Watch 10th anniversary coming in 2015 mean for you ?
Luc Pettavino: First of all, a collective satisfaction of having been able to make this unique project last and evolve, enabling great brands from big groups and independents to work towards a common goal. For 2015, we have already received the support from about forty participants who have started to create their Only Watch unique piece. It is a great privilege that allows the Monaco Association against Muscular Dystrophy to continue to finance (several million euros per year) important research projects mainly in the USA, France, Monaco and Switzerland.
How did this collaboration with Aurel Bacs and Phillips come about?
Meetings with Aurel Bacs and Livia Russo, phone conversations, converging points of view, a common aim for excellence, a desire to work together to promote exceptional horological creations around the world and to support an altruistic cause. All of this, also shared with the Monaco Yacht Show team that co-organizes Only Watch.
Why move the traditional September auction during the Monaco Yacht Show to Geneva, in November?
The watch auction week is synonymous with a strong presence of collectors in Geneva. It is one of the main reasons for making this choice. It increases the attractivity of this auction that gathers unique time pieces of high interest for the watch enthusiasts. Monaco hosted the launch of the 2015 edition with a splendid Garden-party inside the palace upon the invitation of HSH Prince Albert II. The Principality wil also welcome the first stopover of the promotional world tour of the collection, with an exhibit on the Monaco Yacht Show.
What watch brands have never missed an edition since the first one?
I am grateful to the ones that have been loyal to the project. I also respect those who come, take a break and come back. I welcome those participating for the first time. I don’t blame those who have other charity projects to support. And I thank everyone with no distinction.
What is the percentage of newcomers at each edition on average?
Around 20% of brands at each edition are newcomers.
We are now at the gates of clinical applications
What specific advances in research has Only Watch made possible since 2005?
The Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies is dedicating almost all of its resources to international research. Our actions for nearly ten years went as follows:
We first gathered experts and researchers at several roundtables in Monaco to assess and explore possible strategies towards treatment: Gene Therapy? Cell therapy? Pharmacology? Exon skipping? Together with researchers, clinicians, other patient groups, we felt that exon skipping seemed to give the best chance of success. And thanks to Only Watch we have become important associative actors on the international scientific scene.
Phase 1: Funding and monitoring of research teams with complementary work. Overall, a dozen of projects in five countries: England, USA, France, Italy, Switzerland. In summary: a cast of academic researchers gathered in a convergent approach under the banner ICE (International Collaborative Effort).
Phase 2: a new class of molecules that have the advantage of entering all the different muscles in the body as well as the heart, is developed by the joint work of a biologist and a chemist, I mean Luis Garcia, Director of Research CNRS at the University of Versailles and Professor Christian Leumann at the University of Bern.
Phase 3: In order to accelerate the development of clinical trials on humans, the biotech company Synthena was created in July 2012, in the premises of the University of Bern.
We have taken the step of creating this start up because we are more than patrons. We want to keep control of our actions until the development of the final drug. Duchenne muscular dystrophy should be called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophies, as deletions (or holes) in the muscle gene are different and not at the same place depending on the patient and a purely commercial logic would quickly identify the most frequent and financially attractive deletions, and therefore leave aside all other cases. Staying in a compassionate approach towards the treatment of most patients is therefore part of our requirements, it is our mission.
By bringing together patents and knowledge in this structure, we also facilitate potential collaborations with major laboratories.
In parallel, the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies continues to work and support fundamental research in public institutions:
- Laboratory of Robert Kotin, biologist, Director of Research at the National Institute of Health, Washington.
- Laboratory biotherapy of diseases of the neuromuscular system of Luis Garcia at the University of Versailles
- And, since October 2014, the new laboratory on locomotor disabilities hosted by the Monaco Scientific Centre. This laboratory results from a joint idea of Professor Patrick Rampal - President of the CSM, the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies and the University of Versailles which will send researchers, all with the benevolent support and validation of HSH Prince Albert II.
We are now at the gates of clinical applications, in the phase of toxicity studies. Objectively, thanks to Only Watch, progress and strong advances towards treatment have been achieved. In all cases, we are fully committed for it to be so and that hope endures.