Area organizations Aldevron, Sanford Health, and North Dakota State University (NDSU) have joined forces to bring together a special event titled, "From the Valley to the Mountain: The RARE Impact of the Red River Valley," on Wednesday, April 11 from 5:30-8 p.m. at Aldevron corporate headquarters, 4837 Amber Valley Parkway, Fargo N.D. The evening will start with refreshments, a Meet and Greet, and a silent auction, followed by leaders in science and medicine from the Red River Valley sharing their contributions toward advancing gene therapy and rare disease research efforts around the world.
Multiple local families impacted by one such rare disease, Sanfilippo syndrome, will join the event as special guests, along with Dr. Mark Kay, a gene therapy pioneer from Stanford University, who will share his insights on the area's global impact on the advancement of science and medicine.
"Since the company's founding 20 years ago our goal continues to be to work with our partners and colleagues in industry and academia to make a meaningful difference in patients' lives," said Michael Chambers, Aldevron CEO. "This event highlights the courage of families with rare diseases, the accomplishments toward treating these diseases, and the incredible potential we can realize through the continued dedication of scientific and medical leaders in the Red River Valley and beyond."
The evening's events culminate in a special screening and discussion of the documentary film, The Weight of a Mountain, which captures the climb and perspective of the families of children impacted by Sanfilippo syndrome. Joining the discussion will be Carl Kapes, father of two young boys impacted by Sanfilippo syndrome, and Dan Salvo, film maker and director.
"Sanford Research is dedicated in using our world-class research in rare and genetic diseases to develop cures and treatments for patients," shared Dr. David Pearce, EVP of Innovation and Research with Sanford Health and Scientist within the Pediatrics and Rare Disease Group, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. "We are pleased to join NDSU and Aldevron for this event to bring awareness in these endeavors in the Fargo region."
Dean L. Bresciani, president of North Dakota State University, added, "NDSU's impact on research isn't limited to faculty work or even collaborations. Our undergraduates go on to start companies and are a resource for fueling biotech in the region and beyond."
The event is open to the public including children of all ages though registration is required. Please visit the registration web page for more information and to register for the event. Additional sponsors and silent auction donors who made this complimentary event possible include Alerus Financial, Bioscience Association of North Dakota, Be More Colorful, College Smart, Hair Success, IC Rentals, UPS, RDO, Oxbow Country Club, Gates Manufacturing, Titan Machinery, IC Rentals, CH Trade, Office Sign Company, Republic National Distributing Company and Sweet Carolina K.
Dr. Kay will also present a seminar on his work on Thursday, April 12, from 11-noon at NDSU's Department of Microbiological Sciences. NDSU students participate in basic and applied research in a number of biomedical areas, leading to productive impactful careers that change lives within the Fargo-Moorhead community and well beyond.
Aldevron serves the biotechnology industry with custom production of nucleic acids, proteins, and antibodies. Thousands of clients use Aldevron-produced plasmids, RNA and gene editing enzymes for projects ranging from discovery research to clinical trials to commercial applications. These products are critical raw materials and key components in commercially available drugs and medical devices. Aldevron specializes in GMP manufacturing and is known for inventing the GMP-SourceTM quality system. Company headquarters are in Fargo, N.D., with additional facilities in Madison, Wis., and Freiburg, Germany.
About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas. It is the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with 45 hospitals and 289 clinics in nine states and three countries. With 28,000+ employees, including 1,300+ physicians in more than 80 specialty areas of medicine, Sanford Health is the largest employer in the Dakotas. Nearly $1 billion in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford have allowed for several initiatives, including global children's clinics, genomic medicine and specialized centers researching cures for type 1 diabetes, breast cancer and other diseases.
About North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University is distinctive as a student-focused, land-grant, research university, that provides affordable access to an excellent education at a top-ranked institution that combines teaching and research in a rich learning environment, educating future leaders who will create solutions to national and global challenges that will shape a better world. NDSU is listed in the National Science Foundation's top 100 in several areas, including agricultural sciences, social sciences, physical sciences, chemistry, psychology and computer sciences. NDSU is fully accredited as an institution by the Higher Learning Commission.