The award winner in the Healthcare Biotech Category, Cellectis is a French biopharmaceutical company developing adoptive immunotherapies for cancer. In order to address unmet medical needs, Cellectis is developing immunotherapies based on CAR T-cells. The specificity of those allogeneic therapies is that T-cells from healthy donors are genetically edited with the company’s proprietary technology TALEN®, to seek and destroy cancer cells. This approach could lead to a drug that would be cost-effective, easily distributed across all geographies and available to patients who don’t have enough T-cells to undergo an autologous CAR-T therapy (based on the patient’s own T-cells).
The award winner in the Industrial Biotech Category, OxyMem is an Irish industrial biotech company aiming to revolutionise biological aeration for industrial and municipal wastewater plants. Conventional wastewater treatment consumes large amounts of electricity due to its reliance over the last 100 years on bubble diffusion which will typically suffer energy losses of 65-70% in the process because of the oxygen transfer limitations in the bubble aeration process. OxyMem’s proprietary Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor does not have such limitations since it is not using bubbles to deliver oxygen, making it 75% more energy efficient. This enables OxyMem’s customers to build and operate energy efficient biological wastewater treatment plants and allowing them get closer to energy neutral wastewater treatment goals.
The first ever award winner in the Agricultural Biotech Category, Plant Response Biotech is a Spanish green biotech company focused on searching for novel natural products that confer resistance and enhance plant responses to biotic and abiotic stress. With the aim of bridging the gap between early research and the market and bringing solutions to farmers in an efficient way, the company develops and commercializes products employed as preventive applications to crops. This approach enables a more sustainable crop production with minimum environmental impact by reducing chemical use, as well as other agricultural inputs which create residues.
The award winner in the Healthcare Biotech Category, MolMed 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 worldwide recognized leading company in the booming 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.
The award winner in the Industrial Biotech Category, the internationally acclaimed Celtic Renewables Ltd is widely regarded as one of the most innovative new renewables companies in the UK, producing environmentally and commercially sustainable “drop-in” advanced biofuel (biobutanol) from the copious residues of one of Scotland’s most important industries – the £4-billion malt whisky industry (each year 2 billion litres of liquid effluent and 750,000 tonnes of barley residue is generated) – not only providing a sustainable disposal route for the by-products of one of the UK’s largest and most iconic industries, but also integrating renewable energy production with environmental sustainability and carbon reduction, by producing sustainable biobutanol as a direct replacement for fossil road fuel.
The award winner in the Healthcare Biotech Category, Erytech Pharma is a French biopharmaceutical company that develops an innovative concept to starve cancer cells in specific essential nutrients, and quickly induce their death without impairing any healthy cells. The originality of ERYTECH’s technology relies on the use of red blood cells (RBCs) loaded with therapeutic enzyme to develop safe targeted therapies to treat cancer.
The award winner in the Industrial Biotech Category, Bio-on is an Italian company working in the field of industrial biotechnology applied to widely used materials, creating natural products and solutions based on renewable resources or on agricultural processing waste material. Bio-on designed and patented the first fully biobased plastic PHAs obtained from agriculture waste, co- and by-products through natural bacterial fermentation processes and without chemical solvents. This real bioplastic is 100% naturally biodegradable in both water and soil and suitable for use in application areas particularly demanding as: biomedical devices, automotive, food packaging and others.
In 2013 the award went to PsiOxus Therapeutics, a UK company committed to developing a new approach to cancer therapy by using oncolytic vaccines that are potent killers of cancer cells, but with minimal effects on normal healthy cells. Their work is product and platform based with a focus on discovering and developing innovative immunotherapies for the treatment of solid tumors. Their products utilize enadenotucirev, a proprietary first generation oncolytic virus and a proprietary platform technology for next generation oncolytic viruses, Tumor-Specific Immuno-Gene Therapy (T-SIGn).
In 2012 the award went to both Austrian healthcare biotech SME ProtAffin AG and Global Bioenergies – a French industrial biotech SME – as joint winners.
Global Bioenergies was awarded the prestigous prize for their work in developing more efficient ways to convert renewable resources such as agricultural waste, sugar and starch into chemical key building blocks and drop-in fuels, drastically decreasing C02 emissions as well as generating new jobs in rural areas.
ProtAffin AG were recognised for their advanced stage in developing more effective therapies for key global diseases with major unmet needs such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder.
In 2011 the award went to Prosensa Therapeutics for their efforts in developing a treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) – a severely debilitating childhood neuromuscular disease that affects up to 1 in 3,500 live male births. This rare disease is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene, resulting in the absence or defect of the dystrophin protein. As a result, patients suffer from progressive loss of muscle strength, often rendering them wheelchair-bound before the age of 12. Respiratory and cardiac muscle can also be affected by the disease and most patients die in early adulthood due to respiratory and cardiac failure.
BioMarin acquired Prosensa on Jan. 15, 2015. BioMarin maintains operations at the former Prosensa headquarters, based in Leiden, The Netherlands.
In 2010 the award went to Addex Pharmaceuticals, a Swiss biopharmaceutical company founded in 2002 and focused on the development of novel, orally available, small molecule allosteric modulators for neurological disorders. Allosteric modulators are an emerging class of small molecule drugs which have the potential to be more specific and confer significant therapeutic advantages over conventional “orthosteric” small molecule or biological drugs. Addex allosteric modulator drug discovery platform targets receptors and other proteins that are recognized as essential for therapeutic intervention – the Addex pipeline was generated from this pioneering allosteric modulator drug discovery platform.