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Archive for April 25th, 2017

SIR-Spheres(R) Y-90 Resin Microspheres Substantially Improves Quality of Survival in Primary Liver Cancer, New Study Against Standard Treatment Shows

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AMSTERDAM /PRNewswire/ —

459-patient SARAH Study shows that local treatments of advanced or inoperable Hepatocellular Cancer (HCC) with SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres did not lead to a planned superiority difference in overall survival compared to daily standard-of-care systemic therapy with sorafenib, yet had significantly reduced side effects and better Quality of Life

Patients with advanced or inoperable Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) who usually received one or two treatments with liver-directed SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres in the 459-patient French SARAH study had similar survival compared to patients who received standard twice-daily systemic treatment with sorafenib, but with less than half the number and significantly fewer severe treatment-related adverse effects and significantly better Quality of Life, according to data presented here at The International Liver Congress™ 2017.[1]

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The results, which could impact the treatment of tens of thousands of liver cancer patients annually, were announced by the principal investigator of the SARAH study, Professor Valerie Vilgrain MD, PhD, Department of Radiology, Beaujon Hospital, Assistance Publique – Hopitaux de Paris (AP-HP) and Universite Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, France.

“Neither sorafenib nor SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres produced a statistically significant difference in Overall Survival (OS) of the patients we studied,” said Prof. Vilgrain.  “Despite 26.6% of patients in the SIRT arm not receiving SIR-Spheres per protocol, the primary endpoint of Overall Survival by intention-to-treat [ITT] was not significantly different (median 8.0 vs. 9.9 months; p=0.18). Moreover, if we look at the patients who received SIR-Spheres or sorafenib according to the SARAH protocol, median OS was identical (9.9 vs. 9.9 months; p=0.92).”

“In terms of what matters for patients, the findings from this first large head-to-head comparison of liver-directed Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) and systemic chemotherapy with sorafenib also show clearly that liver-directed procedures with SIR-Spheres result in a significantly better tolerance of treatment and quality of life,” Prof. Vilgrain stated.  “I believe this consideration should be a critical factor in selecting first-line treatment for this patient population in the future.”

The difference in the frequency and severity of side effects of patients treated with SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres versus sorafenib was striking. Significantly fewer patients treated with SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres had any treatment-related side effects at all (76.5% vs. 94.0% for sorafenib; p<0.001), and these were also less severe (≥ grade 3; 40.7% vs. 63.0%, respectively; p<0.001). Moreover, those patients treated with SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres who reported treatment-related side effects experienced a median of only 5 such events over the course of the SARAH study, compared to a median of 10 events in those who received sorafenib (p<0.001).

General treatment-related symptoms such as fatigue (42% vs. 65%; p<0.001), abdominal pain (20% vs. 29%; p=0.032), nausea or vomiting (12% vs. 23%; p=0.001) and infection (4% vs. 11%; p=0.007) were also significantly less frequently reported and less severe for patients receiving SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres, compared to sorafenib.

Fewer patients receiving SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres experienced treatment-related diarrhoea (13% vs. 68% for sorafenib; p<0.001), hand-foot skin reaction (0.4% vs. 21%; p<0.001), anorexia (13% vs. 32%; p<0.001), weight loss (6% vs. 21%; p<0.001) and alopecia (0% vs. 16%; p<0.001), as well as infections (4% vs. 11%; p=0.007), hypertension (3% vs. 13%; p<0.001) and non-gastrointestinal haemorrhage (3% vs. 10%; p=0.002).

There were few potential SIRT-associated treatment-related complications and, importantly, no radioembolization-induced liver disease (radiation hepatitis) experienced. There were no significant increases for SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres in gastrointestinal (GI) ulceration (2% vs. 0.5% for sorafenib; p=0.37) including one case of radiation-induced GI ulcer, ascites (12% vs. 11%; p=0.57), hyperbilirubinemia (12% vs. 13%; p=0.86) and only one case of radiation pneumonitis (0.4% vs. 0; p=0.46).

The results of Quality of Life (QoL) surveys filled out by SARAH participants at three month intervals after their initial treatment underscored the benefit of SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres. “Based on their responses to the Global Health Status questions in the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC] QLQ-C30 questionnaire, patients treated with SIR-Spheres maintained their health status over the duration of the SARAH study, whereas patients receiving sorafenib reported a significant and sustained decline in QoL (group effect: p=0.005; time effect: p<0.001; between group difference increase over time: p=0.045),” Prof. Vilgrain said.

“In addition,” she noted, “we found that the tumours of patients treated with SIR-Spheres had a higher objective response (19.0% vs. 11.6%; p=0.042) than was seen with sorafenib, and experienced a significantly reduced risk of their cancer progressing in the liver, which is the main cause of death from this disease.”

Background of the SARAH Study

“Patients with HCC who are not eligible for liver transplant, surgery or ablation to treat their tumours in place face a very bleak prognosis of one or two years of life with increasing debilitation and pain,” Prof. Vilgrain said.  “In many cases, the patient’s HCC is already so advanced that the main treatment option available is sorafenib. In other cases, we are able to treat patients with intermediate-stage disease initially with several courses of chemotherapy infused directly into their livers, which is called transarterial chemoembolisation, or TACE, but this approach may fail.”

“For patients with advanced HCC or those failing TACE, we have for the past ten years relied upon oral systemic treatment with sorafenib, which was shown to extend survival compared to placebo, but also causes many side effects that can compromise patients’ quality of life.  That is why we decided to see if treatment with a newer form of liver-directed therapy, selective internal radiotherapy, or SIRT, with SIR-Spheres could represent a better alternative.  Our decision to initiate the SARAH study was based on smaller previous studies and retrospective analyses, which suggested that SIR-Spheres could be at least as effective and was well tolerated by HCC patients,” she stated.

The randomized, controlled, open-labelled SARAH (SorAfenib versus Radioembolization in Advanced Hepatocellular carcinoma) study directly compared the efficacy of selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT, or radioembolisation) using yttrium-90 [Y-90] resin microspheres (SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres, Sirtex Medical Limited, Sydney, Australia) versus sorafenib (Nexavar®, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Berlin, Germany).

SARAH was launched in December 2011 and concluded enrolment in February 2015.

With 459 patients treated in 25 clinical centres across France, SARAH is the largest randomized study ever to compare selective internal radiation therapy – or any liver-directed therapy – against the standard-of-care systemic therapy in the treatment of primary liver cancer.  Almost 70% of the patients in the SARAH study had advanced HCC (Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage C), with portal vein thrombosis and no extrahepatic spread. Most of the other patients had failed two cycles of TACE.

Results of SIRveNIB, a parallel study in more than 360 Asia Pacific HCC patients will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago on 4 June 2017.

What is Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)?

HCC patients represent 90% of all people diagnosed with primary liver cancer, which is the sixth most common cancer in the world and the second leading cause of cancer-related death.  HCC affects mainly patients with cirrhosis from any cause, including viral hepatitis, alcohol misuse, and fatty liver disease, and results in more than 670,000 deaths globally each year.[2] Among people at risk of HCC, incidence of the disease increases progressively with advancing age, reaching a peak at around 70 years.[3]

Overall, one-third of patients with liver cirrhosis will develop HCC during their lifetime.[4]

  • Worldwide, approximately 54% of HCC cases can be attributed to HBV infection (affecting 400 million people) while 31% can be attributed to HCV infection (affecting 170 million people).[3]
  • In Africa and East Asia, the largest attributable fraction is due to HBV infection (60%), while in the developed Western world, chronic HCV infection appears to be the major risk factor.[5],[6]

In addition to these causes, it is now thought that up to one in eight (12.8%) of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) patients with cirrhosis will progress to HCC.[7] NASH – which is widely considered to be triggered by type II diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, hyperlipidaemia and hypertension – has become the number one cause of liver disease in Western countries.  Progression of NASH dramatically increases the risks of cirrhosis, liver failure, and HCC.  This is thought to be related to the worldwide epidemic of diabetes and obesity.[8]

HCC occurs more often in men than women, except in Africa, where more women are affected.[2]

What is SIRT with SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres?

SIRT with SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres is an approved treatment for inoperable liver tumours. It is a minimally-invasive treatment that delivers high doses of high-energy beta radiation directly to the tumours.  SIRT is administered to patients by interventional radiologists, who infuse millions of radioactive resin microspheres (diameter between 20-60 microns) via a catheter into the liver arteries that supply blood to the tumours. By using the tumours’ blood supply, the microspheres selectively target liver tumours with a dose of radiation that is up to 40 times higher than conventional radiotherapy, while sparing healthy tissue.

SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres are approved for use in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the European Union (CE Mark), Switzerland, Turkey, and several countries in Asia for the treatment of unresectable liver tumours. In the US, SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres have a Pre-Market Approval (PMA) from the FDA and are indicated for the treatment of unresectable metastatic liver tumours from primary colorectal cancer with adjuvant intra-hepatic artery chemotherapy (IHAC) of FUDR (floxuridine).


  1. Vilgrain V et al.  The International Liver Congress™ 2017 – 52nd annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, J Hepatol 2017; 66 (Suppl 1): Abs. GS-012.
  2. Extrapolated from Ferlay J et al.  Globocan 2012. v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from:, accessed on 14/April/2017.
  3. EASL-EORTC Clinical Practice Guidelines: Management of hepatocellular carcinoma.  J Hepatol 2012; 56: 908-43.
  4. Sangiovanni A et al.  Hepatology 2006; 43: 1303-10.
  5. Di Bisceglie AM.  Hepatology 2009; 49(Suppl 5): S56-60.
  6. Davis GL et al.  Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 2008; 21: 266-80
  7. White DL et al.  Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2012; 10: 1342-59.
  8. World Gastroenterology Organisation Global Guidelines: Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis, 2012.

SIR-Spheres® is a Registered Trademark of Sirtex SIR-Spheres Pty Ltd.


Source: Sirtex Medical Limited

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April 25, 2017 at 4:19 pm

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NeuroVive Presents Preclinical Findings of NV556 in NASH Showing Confirmatory Anti-fibrotic Effects

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LUND, Sweden /PRNewswire/ — NeuroVive Pharmaceutical AB (Nasdaq Stockholm: NVP, OTCQX: NEVPF) (“NeuroVive”) today announced positive preclinical results demonstrating anti-fibrotic effects with NV556, the company’s preclinical compound for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), in an additional well-validated experimental NASH model.

NV556 has previously shown similar anti-fibrotic effects in the experimental STAM™ NASH model. Today, NeuroVive’s scientists present novel data demonstrating anti-fibrotic effects of NV5556 also in the experimental MCD NASH model, strengthening and confirming the previous findings. In addition, in the STAM model where NASH is followed by liver cancer development, long term treatment with NV556 was well tolerated and significantly reduced liver weight increase, indicating a reduced tumor burden. Furthermore, there was a trend that NV556 reduced both the number and the size of tumors on the liver surface.

“We are encouraged by the confirmation of an anti-fibrotic effect of NV556 in a second well validated experimental model. Also, the preventive effect on liver cancer development is a highly appealing observation that adds to the attractiveness of NV556 as a possible treatment candidate for patients with progressing NASH for which there is a high unmet medical need”, says Magnus Hansson, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer at NeuroVive.

Dr. Hansson and colleagues will present the poster titled “Anti-fibrotic effect of NV556, a sanglifehrin-based cyclophilin inhibitor, in a preclinical model of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis1” at The International Liver Congress™ taking place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 19-23 April 2017.

The International Liver Congress™ is the main annual scientific conference of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), with about 11,000 attendees, including scientific and medical experts from around the world, meeting to share and discuss the latest liver research findings.

About NV556

NV556 is a potent cyclophilin inhibitor in NeuroVive’s Sangamide class of compounds. NV556 is undergoing preclinical development and has so far showed an excellent safety profile. The first preclinical results for the effects of NV556 on fibrosis development in an experimental model of NASH were received during the autumn of 2016.

In addition to NV556, NeuroVive is developing a new class of compounds with a different mode of action. This project is complementary to NV556 and may offer an alternative treatment opportunity of NASH patients. This discovery project, titled NVP022, utilizes NeuroVive’s core competence in mitochondrial energy regulation, and NeuroVive’s partner company Isomerase’s innovative chemistry capabilities are providing chemical compounds currently undergoing experimental concept testing.

About NASH

Inflammation and excess fat in the liver are symptoms of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a condition that causes scarring of the liver which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). There is a strong link between NASH and other metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity. The disease is common all over the world, and about 3-5% of all Americans (roughly 15 million people) suffer from NASH,2 for which there are currently no registered treatment options available.

1) Gronberg Alvar, Elmer Eskil, Gregory Matthew, Moss Steven, Hansson Magnus (accepted abstract)

2) Vernon G. et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011;34(3):274-85

About NeuroVive

NeuroVive Pharmaceutical AB is a leader in mitochondrial medicine. The company is committed to the discovery and development of medicines that preserve mitochondrial integrity and function in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s strategy is to advance drugs for rare diseases through clinical development and into the market. The strategy for projects within larger indications outside the core focus area is out-licensing in the preclinical phase. NeuroVive enhances the value of its projects in an organization that includes strong international partnerships and a network of mitochondrial research institutions, as well as expertise in drug development and production.

NeuroVive has a project in early clinical phase II development for the prevention of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (NeuroSTAT®). NeuroSTAT has orphan drug designation in Europe and in the US. The R&D portfolio consists of several late stage research programs in areas ranging from genetic mitochondrial disorders to cancer and metabolic diseases such as NASH.

NeuroVive is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, Sweden (ticker: NVP). The share is also traded on the OTCQX Best Market in the US (OTC: NEVPF).

For investor relations and media questions, please contact:

Cecilia Hofvander, NeuroVive, Tel: +46-(0)46-275-62-21 or

NeuroVive Pharmaceutical AB (publ)
Medicon Village, SE-223 81 Lund, Sweden
Tel: +46-(0)46-275-62-20 (switchboard)

This information is information that NeuroVive Pharmaceutical AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, at 08:00 a.m. CEST on 20 April 2017.

This information was brought to you by Cision,c2242676

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NeuroVive Presents Preclinical Findings of NV556 in NASH Showing Confirmatory Anti-fibrotic Effects

Source: NeuroVive Pharmaceutical

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April 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

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Middle East Facility Management Market to Witness Radical Changes

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Service delivery quality and robustness of portfolio to be defining forces that will influence emergence of growth opportunities, finds Frost & Sullivan’s Building Technologies Team

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates /PRNewswire/ — The regional Facility Management (FM) industry is at an inflection point, where past success recipes will cease to hold relevance, in light of increasing convergence, and the emergence of competition from unconventional sources. This is critical to note for an industry that was severely strained over the last 2 years in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), being impacted by a slowdown in construction, cash flow issues, and relatively low degree of sophistication.

A white paper from Frost & Sullivan’s Building technologies practice, ‘Disruptions in the GCC FM Industry’, closely examines the threats and opportunities facing the GCC FM market. The study reveals that just acquiring intelligence on the market is no longer sufficient. Frost & Sullivan recommends that companies desiring to enhance their positioning in the market, need to revisit their viewpoints – especially those relating to technology, customer management, and partnering.

To know more about the Facility Management Market in Middle East and to talk to us, please click here.

“The return of pricing pressures, shift in authority to the customer, and uncertainty relating to the role that FM should play in the overall landscape of building management services, are major challenges that FM companies in the GCC need to address on their path to achieving growth,” said Frost & Sullivan Energy and Environment Research Analyst Suganya Rajan.

“A much needed overhaul of service-level agreements is yet to take off in the region. Many technologies are on the verge of breaking into the region, including Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, 3D printing, energy management, and the shift towards command centre models for managing buildings. This will force FM companies to re-look at the role that a CTO or CIO would play in their structure, and companies with a strong visioning process would surge ahead in the market. For instance, FM companies must prepare to have their own 3D printers and necessary consumables to re-construct spares and parts of the building that require maintenance or repair.”

The Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain markets, though relatively smaller, also present a favourable environment for FM companies to operate and grow within. However, the larger players will also face challenges, especially in terms of increasing growth and ramping up internal processes to cater to the increased portfolio they are managing. Companies that wish to accelerate their growth will also need to look at how they attract and retain talent, while focusing on managing the impact of convergence.

“The FM industry in the GCC is at the crossroads of change, and it is essential for FM service providers to imbibe global best practices after working hard towards customizing them to meet local nuances,” noted Rajan. “Ultimately, we can expect to see a number of smaller or inefficient companies just winding up, which would provide an ideal market for transactions in what has been a relatively inactive market in the past.”

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community.

Anita Chandhoke
Corporate Communications
C: +91 99161 33311
P: +91.80.6702 8020

Twitter: @Frost_Sullivan

Source: Frost & Sullivan
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April 25, 2017 at 11:41 am

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Stretta for GERD receives strong grade recommendation in a new Clinical Spotlight Review statement from SAGES

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Symposium at SAGES congress highlights CSR and multidisciplinary perspective on Stretta for GERD

NORWALK, Connecticut /PRNewswire/ — Mederi Therapeutics has announced that the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) recently issued a Clinical Spotlight Review (CSR) Guideline statement on Stretta Therapy for GERD. The CSR as well as other new data was presented during an industry symposium at the recent SAGES 2017 Annual Meeting in Houston, TX.

The new CSR of Endoluminal Treatments for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), published online, reviews existing data and provides evidence-based answers to key clinically relevant questions. Developed by the SAGES Guidelines Committee, the CSR details outcomes of Stretta as compared to medications or surgery, along with safety, long-term durability, and procedural learning curve.

The CSR recommendation states: “Based on existing evidence, Stretta significantly improves health related quality of life scores, heartburn scores, incidence of esophagitis, and esophageal acid exposure in patients with GERD”. Regarding Stretta’s benefits, the CSR concluded: “The effectiveness of Stretta diminishes some over time, but persistent effects have been described for up to 10 years in appropriately selected GERD patients. Stretta is more effective than PPI, but less so than fundoplication. Stretta is safe in adults and has a short learning curve. (Level of evidence +++, Strong recommendation)”.

Brian Dunkin, MD, past president of SAGES, Head of Endoscopic Surgery at the Houston Methodist Hospital, and Medical Director of the Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education (MITIESM) in Houston, Texas, noted SAGES’ commitment to supporting proven and innovative technologies that offer safe, effective and durable options for patients. “The SAGES Guidelines committee recognizes the problem of chronic GERD, noting that 25-42% of patients with GERD don’t achieve adequate response to an initial 4-8 week treatment with proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Despite the effectiveness of surgery, it is invasive, requires hospitalization and has a risk of short and long-term complications. A “middle therapy” like Stretta, which provides an option between medications and surgery, is an attractive alternative to patients, physicians and payers alike.”

Mederi hosted a symposium at the SAGES 2017 Annual Meeting that highlighted the new CSR as well as a recently published Stretta Meta-Analysis. The symposium featured perspectives on the use of Stretta to treat GERD by both a Gastroenterologist and a Surgeon. Speakers, Dr. Nirav Thosani, Chair of Gastroenterology and Director of Advanced Endocopy at Ertan Digestive Disease Center at Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Dr. Samer Mattar, Professor and Chief of Bariatric Services at Oregon Health Sciences University, presented on the latest Stretta data and their view on GERD treatments, describing where Stretta fits in their practice, and shared positive experiences with Stretta in treating GERD patients.

Mederi manufactures innovative devices that use non-ablative radiofrequency (RF) energy to treat digestive diseases. Stretta is an endoscopic, non-surgical treatment that is proven safe and effective for GERD in 40 studies and is available worldwide.

For more information:, or call 855-855-3639.

Contact: Kara Stephens
+1 407.765.1185

Source: Mederi Therapeutics

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April 25, 2017 at 11:16 am

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123RF Acquires Autodesk Pixlr to Boost the World’s Creative Ecosystem

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SAN FRANCISCO and HONG KONG /PRNewswire/ — 123RF has acquired Pixlr, one of the world’s most widely used cloud and mobile photo editors from Autodesk, Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With the addition of this powerful and free image editing tool, Inmagine Group, the parent company of 123RF, moves a step closer to its mission of creating a holistic creative ecosystem that makes great design accessible to all.

This acquisition propels Inmagine Group’s unique monthly active users (MAUs) towards the 50 million mark in addition to a compelling mobile strategy with over 100 million installs of Pixlr mobile apps, thereby creating a new vertically-integrated platform that delivers engaging user experiences to the creative community.

Founded in 2008, Pixlr offers a suite of cloud-based image tools and utilities such as photo editing tool Pixlr Editor, Pixlr Express, Pixlr iOS/Android App and Pixlr-O-Matic.

Since acquiring Pixlr in 2011, Autodesk has invested to expand the portfolio and bring powerful editing tools to millions of users around the world and in the process, grew the user base twenty-fold.

123RF’s in-house production team of over 200 will begin working to expand the Pixlr content library as a value add to its users, ensuring Pixlr communities will continue to have access to new tools and content.

“As part of our ongoing business model transition, Autodesk has decided to focus development resources on our core product portfolio, so we were pleased to find in 123RF a partner who is committed to supporting the Pixlr community and investing in ongoing enhancements to the product,” said Thomas Heermann, Autodesk senior director, digital arts.  “Autodesk remains committed to providing tools and services that can help anybody make anything, and we will work with 123RF to ensure that the Autodesk and Pixlr user communities continue to have access to the broadest set of design tools.”

Andy Sitt, founder and chairman of Inmagine Group and 123RF added, “It’s a game-changing collaboration that empowers creatives with seamless access to free and affordable content within their favorite free image editing tools. Through this transaction, both 123RF and Autodesk aim to develop and enhance Pixlr to inspire more users worldwide.”


Pixlr was started in Sweden in August 2008 and offers a suite of cloud-based image editing tools and utilities (web and mobile) such as Pixlr Editor, Pixlr-O-Matic and Pixlr Express. Pixlr’s tools are built to enable non-professionals and professionals alike to create, edit, and share images online via social networking services or utilize in various creative works.


Inmagine Group has over 450 staff in 40 offices around the globe. It was founded in 2000 as and, despite being fully bootstrapped, has quickly expanded its reach with sites like,,, Inmagine Group has one of the world’s largest content libraries across the creative ecosystem and draws over 40 million visitors a month to its various online properties.


Founded in 2005, 123RF has grown to be one of the world’s largest royalty-free digital stock agency. As part of the Inmagine Group, 123RF has helped a wide clientele of individuals and businesses from more than 40 locations worldwide tell their stories using creative imagery, sounds and motion contributed by talents from around the world. 123RF aims to be a creative solutions enabler through constant innovation, new products and services.

For more information, please contact:

Patrick Yu / Valerie Sun

Source: 123RF
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April 25, 2017 at 10:35 am

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The Walshes find a bright future in Auckland, New Zealand

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand /PRNewswire/ — They share the same surname, they are not related and they lived in different parts of the world. They both settled in New Zealand — and have never looked back.

Billy Walsh, a middle-aged banker, packed up his family and their belongings and moved from Dublin in Ireland to Auckland. Samantha Walsh studied at Auckland University on a student exchange programme from Baltimore in the United States, and didn’t want to leave her ‘adopted’ country.

Billy and Samantha are telling their immigration stories to World Masters Games 2017 participants at an ‘Auckland — A Smart Move’ seminar on April 27.

The seminar, organised by economic growth agency, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), describes the opportunities for studying, working, living and investing in Auckland; the economic powerhouse of New Zealand, and the country’s largest city.

Auckland is rated first in the world for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ by the World Bank 2017, and was named the ‘Third Most Liveable City in the World’ in the Mercer Quality of Living survey 2017. Auckland was also ranked in JLL’s Top 20 City Momentum Index 2016, and is ranked Top 30 ‘Best Cities in the World’ in the QS Best Students Cities Index 2017.

Auckland has a thriving culture of innovation, a rapidly-growing economy and a diverse and skilled talent pool — though skills shortage do exist. The city boasts a wide range of world-class universities, tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools offering courses in everything from physics to farming. The universities and Crown Research Institutes are producing ground-breaking research and development and intellectual property.

The World Masters Games 2017 in Auckland has attracted nearly 28,000 participants and supporters, and attendees at the seminar will come from the UK, Northern Europe, South Africa, Canada, United States and Asia.

Billy’s story is the epitome of how welcoming and flexible Auckland and New Zealand is — how easy it is to take up a new job when skill gaps exists.

Billy’s wife Nuala spotted an advert in The Sunday Times (one advert for one day in one newspaper) for a Commercial Relationship Manager at the National Bank in Auckland. After 30 years working for the Bank of Ireland in Dublin (latterly as the National Commercial Collateral Manager), Billy wanted “a new adventure” and applied.

He completed successful interviews in London and very soon he, his wife and two boys Andrew and Peter were on the plane for a new beginning in New Zealand.

“Half the battle of having an interview from overseas and immigrating is to be 100 per cent honest,” says Billy.

“I was open and frank in the interviews; there’s nothing to be gained from pretending you are something you’re not.

“They are giving you a job based on your skills and ability, and if you mislead the outcome then you will be found out very quickly on your arrival. That will manifest in you becoming insecure and miserable in a new country.”

The Walsh family arrived in Auckland in 2006, found their “slice of heaven” and have no intention of returning to Ireland. Billy, now aged 57, is now Commercial Partner with BNZ Bank in East Tamaki, Andrew and Peter have graduated from Auckland University, and Nuala is the Enrolment Officer at Macleans College with 2500 pupils.

“We embraced what we came to, joined clubs and met loads of people,” says Billy. “When emigrating you’ve got to throw away what is engrained in you. For instance, wages may be lower but you need to balance that out with income taxes, medical care, ACC and GST which are more favourable,” says Billy.

“You have to look at the whole proposition and all the other benefits that come with living in Auckland and in New Zealand.

“In Ireland you work for 48 weeks on the dream of a two-week continental holiday in the sun. Nearly every weekend is a holiday in New Zealand — the weather is warmer, you can make plans and get into the outdoors.

“There’s so much to see and do on the Auckland doorstep — sports events, markets, shows; on many occasions you have to make choices,” says Billy.

Andrew is an Engineering Geologist in Auckland, with interests in half ironman and canoeing. In his final year at school he had a six-week internship with Team New Zealand America’s Cup yachting. Peter is completing his postgrad in Teaching, and is a Black Tip in Taekwondo.

Billy says the education is great in Auckland — “the boys would not have had the same opportunities at university in Ireland” — and New Zealand is a much safer place for my family to grow up in.

“Nuala and I appreciate the can-do attitude of New Zealanders — there is scope to follow your dreams and an environment that is welcoming and supportive.”

Samantha Walsh, who was brought up in Connecticut, first came to Auckland in 2009 for four months’ study. “The second I stepped off the plane I felt at home, and this was just at the airport. It was a weird feeling — I just felt content.”

“My experience at Auckland University was incredible — it wasn’t just the learning but the exposure to different people and cultures. It was such an eye-opening and engaging experience.”

Samantha returned to Loyola University in Baltimore and completed her BA degree in Business and Marketing. “I had fallen in love with New Zealand and knew I needed to go back.”

She arrived on a working holiday visa in November 2010, travelled the country, worked in hospitality and eventually wound up working for a boutique marketing, public relations and events agency in Auckland. “I had on-the-ground experience, built connections and learned a lot about what I wanted to do with my career.”

Samantha did return to the United States but longed for New Zealand. She successfully applied for a marketing and communications role in New Zealand’s Trade and Enterprise’s (NZTE) New York office.

She worked there for three and a half years before arriving back in Auckland in August 2016 on a work to residence visa as a Business Partner in NZTE’s marketing team (called the Creative Hub).

“In New York we worked with companies to help them succeed in-market. My current role supports a company’s journey before they go offshore. It’s pretty neat seeing both sides of the export journey.

“While working in New York I met some amazing Kiwi companies and entrepreneurs wanting to make a difference overseas. They’re so passionate — there are really smart, talented people coming out of New Zealand,” says Samantha.

“I’ve had an interesting journey of my own — I’ve sort of lived three lives in New Zealand as a student, a tourist and a professional. While my occupation may have changed, one thing I’ve always loved are the weekend getaways and exploring New Zealand.

“Over the years I’ve been able to share my passion for New Zealand with friends and family — even people I haven’t seen for years. They’ll see the pictures and ask about New Zealand and my life here. The next thing they are booking flights half-way across the world to discover this country for themselves,” Samantha says.

Amy Robens
ATEED – Senior Communications Advisor
Tel: +64-21-399-544

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Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Written by asiafreshnews

April 25, 2017 at 10:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized