EuropaBio has announced the top five finalists for its 2011 Most Innovative EU Biotech SME Award. The judging panel composed of G. Steven Burrill, Founder and CEO of Burrill & Company, Tom Saylor, CEO of Arecor and Chairman of EuropaBio’s SME Platform, Paul Ruebig, MEP and Chair of the SME Union and Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio, faced an arduous task in selecting the top five candidates among the many excellent submissions received from across the EU.
The overall winner, who will receive a prize of €10,000 as well as two year’s free membership of EuropaBio, will be revealed at a high-level event taking place in the European Parliament on November 8th. The event will include keynote speeches on the past and future of the biotech industry by G. Steven Burrill, Founder and CEO of Burrill & Company as well as an overview of the EU’s innovation-related initiatives in favour of SMEs by Daniel Calleja-Crespo, EU Commission Deputy Director DG Industry & Entrepreneurship and special SME envoy. As occurred last year, a large audience of EU policy makers, industrial leaders, scientists, venture capitalists and media is expected as Europe’s top scientists and their companies present their solutions to global challenges such as degenerative medical conditions, environmental challenges and meeting the needs of an ever increasing and ageing global population.
The finalists, who will present their innovative discoveries at the award ceremony on November 8th include: AiCuris GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), a company focused on developing new medicines that fight against infectious diseases with a high impact on society, such as HIV, Human Cytomegalovirus, Herpes, Hepatitis and resistant bacterial infections in hospitals; Biocentras (Lithuania), who work to solve environmental challenges such as land and water pollution as well as focusing on improved recycling and waste management; Cardio3 Biosciences (Belgium), working on the discovery, development and commercialisation of regenerative and protective therapies for heart diseases; Prosensa (The Netherlands), an SME whose technology is at the forefront of developing a treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) – a lethal childhood rare disease; and to-BBB (The Netherlands), who have discovered a new technology to enhance drug delivery across the bloodbrain barrier to treat medical conditions such as brain cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Commenting on the shortlisted applicants, Tom Saylor, Chair of EuropaBio’s SME Platform said: “The Most Innovative EU Biotech SME Award provides essential public recognition to the role that emerging biotech enterprises play in contributing to healthier, longer and greener lives. Europe’s future is heavily dependent upon strong and sustainable biotech SME’s in terms of jobs and growth. Biotech SME’s bear a large part of the risks for translation of our substantial scientific resources into more efficient industrial production, better foods and innovative new healthcare products. Greater public awareness of the contribution of biotech SME’s to Europe’s economy will lead to greater public support of policies designed to ensure the availability of finance and a supportive regulatory environment”.
Speaking about the Award and the upcoming event, Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio concluded: “2011 is a hugely exciting time for innovation and discovery in the area of biotechnology in Europe. With the commitments set out by President Barroso’s EU 2020 Strategy, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn’s upcoming Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation and the high calibre of applications for this year’s award, we are right to have high expectations for a brighter, healthier, greener and more sustainable future in Europe. This year too, we will face a tough task in selecting just one overall winner – an SME that in the face of financial and other constraints is working on extraordinary solutions to some of our most pressing societal challenges”.
EuropaBio’s mission is to promote an innovative and dynamic biotechnology based industry in Europe. EuropaBio, (the European Association for Bioindustries), has 62 corporate and 7 associate members operating worldwide, 2 Bioregions and 19 national biotechnology associations representing some 1,800 small and medium sized enterprises.
About the SME Platform
EuropaBio’s SME Platform focuses its activities on highlighting challenges and financial constraints that biotech SMEs face, and developing policy recommendations to optimise EU and member state funding instruments for biotech SMEs. The SME Platform brings together CEOs, of SMEs, National Biotech Associations, Venture Capitalists and private banks, European financial institutions, representatives from the EC, and other interested stakeholders.
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Source: EuropaBio, press release, 2011-10-05.