26 Juni 2015

EU commission states strong support for biotech sector at the EuropaBio Biotech awards

The EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety has reiterated the EU Commission’s “strong interest and fundamental support” for the biotech sector, saying that the sector benefits “people, the economy and sustainability”

Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis was speaking at the EuropaBio event on the Benefits of Biotechnology held at the European Parliament in Brussels on 3 June, which was attended by more than 100 guests.

EuropaBio’s Most Innovative European Biotech SME Awards

The event concluded with EuropaBio’s Most Innovative European Biotech SME Awards ceremony celebrating the work of MolMed S.p.A. and Celtic Renewables Ltd., leading European SMEs in healthcare and industrial biotechnology respectively.

The winner in the Industrial Biotech Category, Celtic Renewables, produces sustainable biobutanol from whisky by-products as a direct replacement for petrol. Scotland’s £4-billion malt whisky industry produces annually two billion litres of liquid effluent and 750,000 tonnes of barley residue. Celtic Renewable’s innovative technology not only provides a sustainable disposal route for these by-products, but also integrates renewable energy production with environmental sustainability and carbon reduction.

Assisted by NNFCC

Celtic Renewables, was assisted by NNFCC in establishing its successful partnership with the flagship EU testing facility Bio-Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP) in Belgium last year. Celtic Renewables was the first company to trial biobutanol technology at the demonstrator pilot facility in Ghent, and also the first Scottish company to sign an agreement with BBEPP.

The partnership was enabled with funding from a €10,000 ‘Innovation coupon’ from the European Commission Interreg North West Europe project Bio Base NWE, an NNFCC-supported project which aims to develop the biobased economy in North West Europe.

Accepting the award and cheque for €10,000 , Celtic Renewables’ founder and President Professor Tangney said: “This exceptional recognition by EuropaBio and the European Parliament is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved with Celtic Renewables and it highlights the importance of what we are trying to accomplish.”

He added: “There is a very real need to get biotechnologies such as ours to the market and we are fully committed to playing our small part in growing a bioeconomy in Europe.”

The winner in the Healthcare Biotech Category (sponsored by the Deerfield Management Company), MolMed S.p.A. is an Italian healthcare biotechnology company, focused on oncology and genetic orphan diseases, with two products in late clinical development stage addressing large unmet medical needs. MolMed is listed on the Milan Stock Exchange since 2008 and is positioned as a global leader in the field of cell & gene therapies. Its unique technological platform in this space is exploited for the progress of company’s proprietary programs as well as for projects performed in collaboration with third parties.

Biotechnology sector will ‘enhance life, economy & sustainability’

Keynote speaker Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “We need to have a healthy disregard for the impossible in order to make truly great leaps in innovation. All the winners and finalists of this year’s EuropaBio Most Innovative European Biotech Awards undoubtedly share that healthy disregard for the impossible, and it has been inspirational for me to play a small part in these awards’.

Carlo Incerti, Chief Medical Officer, Genzyme Corporation and Chairman of EuropaBio, said: “No other sector holds the promise to enhance quality of life, productivity and environmental sustainability through innovation like biotechnology, while also benefitting Europe’s economy and research base.”

Commenting on the awards, NNFCC’s Lead Consultant on Biobased Products, Dr Adrian Higson, said: “It’s great to see a UK biotechnology company receiving this recognition on an international stage. The UK recognises the importance and opportunities arising from Industrial Biotechnology and is working to support its innovative technology companies through programmes such as the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst. The clear economic opportunities and societal benefits arising from biotechnology and the bioeconomy make a compelling case for the development of strong and supportive public policies.”

Source: NNFCC, 2015-06-24.

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