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Thursday, 10 November 2011

SMEs Showcase Innovation at European Biotech SME Awards

We attended the EuropaBio event 'Biotechnology: what's in it for you', where the 'Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award 2011' was presented.  This event aimed to highlight the entrepreneurship and pioneering activity of European Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in biotechnology and their inventive answers to complex problems such as environmental contamination, degenerative medical conditions, epidemics or food security.  The judging panel consisted of G. Steven Burrill, Founding CEO of Burrill and Company, Dr Paul Ruebig, MEP, Tom Saylor, Chair of EuropaBio's SME Platform and CEO of Arecor, and Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio.

This year’s winning SME was Prosensa Therapeutics, a Dutch-based biopharmaceutical company working on the development of RNA modulating therapy on rare progressively debilitating diseases, namely neuromuscular disorders such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Their therapeutics are a powerful tool for targeted modulation of gene expression, which will correct mRNA defect expression that causes such disorders, also removing mutant RNA or protein domains.

Prosensa had to compete with 26 other outstanding applicants, all of which have shown solid and creative research in the healthcare, agricultural and industrial fields.  This year's other finalists, who presented their findings to an audience of scientists, journalists, EU decision-makers and CEOs included:
  • AiCuris GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), a company developing novel medicines that fight resistant bacterial infections in hospitals, improving the success of organ transplants.
  • Biocentras (Lithuania), who research and apply biocatalysis, i.e. they use enzymes and microorganisms to solve land and water pollution as well as to improved recycling and waste management.
  • Cardio3 Biosciences (Belgium), who are applying a stem cell approach to the development of regenerative and protective therapies for cardiovascular diseases, protecting the heart during myocardial injury, reducing the volume of the scar and reconstructing damaged heart tissue.
  • to-BBB (Netherlands), who use nanotechnology, specifically pegylated liposomes, which are able to encapsulate hydrophilic and lipophilic compounds and thus provide drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier in a way that medical conditions such as brain cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis can be better treated.
In these economically challenging times, we admire all the participants for their creative efforts to contribute to a more sustainable world.  Congratulations to all and we are looking forward for next year’s awards.

Blog by Ana Catarino

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