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2017: Top European Biotech SMEs announced in the European Parliament

NovaBiotics, Carbios and Iden Biotechnology awarded at the 8th EuropaBio SME Awards

European Parliament, Brussels, 22 November 2017: During a high-level event at the European Parliament with biotech CEOs, industry leaders and venture capitalists, MEP Paul Rübig (Awards Jury Member and event host) awarded NovaBiotics (healthcare biotech, UK), Carbios (industrial biotech, France) and Iden Biotechnology (agricultural biotech, Spain) with the top prizes in the 8th edition of the EuropaBio Most Innovative Biotech SME Awards. Apart from the public recognition, the winners receive 10000 EUR each and a two-year free membership of EuropaBio.

[Quote] Peter Heinrich, Chairman of the EuropaBio SME Platform: “European biotech companies are among the most innovative worldwide and it was inspiring to hear the stories of both the winners and runners-up of this competition.  It is also true that biotech SMEs face a difficult environment in terms of finance, regulatory policy and legislative rules. This is why it was a privilege to have them showcased in the European Parliament and offer them public recognition demonstrating their outstanding work and benefits to society, and to recognise the importance of sound European policy and business environment for such enterprises to thrive.”

Twenty-seven innovative biotech companies from a dozen European countries applied for this year’s competition. The initiative recognises highly innovative small and medium sized enterprises in Europe that have developed novel ways of meeting our societal, technical, and environmental problems through the application of biotechnology.

From left to right: John Brennan (EuropaBio Secretary General), Carlo Incerti (EuropaBio Chairman), Philipp Bürling (Co-Founder and CFO, Numaferm), Teemu Suna (CEO, Nightingale Health), Deborah A. O’Neil (CEO, NovaBiotics), Martin Stephan (Deputy CEO, Carbios), Nora Alonso (CEO, Iden Biotechnology) and MEP Paul Rübig (Jury Member and Event Host)

Healthcare or Red Biotech Category

The winner, NovaBiotics, is a UK-based clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the design and development of first-in-class anti-infectives for difficult-to-treat, medically unmet diseases. A leading innovator in the anti-infectives space, the company’s robust technology and business model has been validated through successful development, from concept to clinic, of two lead products and securing the most appropriate commercial collaborations to enable the delivery of these highly promising therapy candidates to markets of significant worth.

The runner-up in this category was Nightingale Health, a Finnish biotechnology company addressing chronic diseases with a proprietary blood analysis platform that can improve risk prediction of, among others, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. With headquarters and laboratory facilities in Finland, along with two franchising laboratories in the UK, they routinely provide services for academic research customers internationally. With clinical pilots ongoing, the company’s next major milestone is to bring its blood analysis service to healthcare providers globally. Ultimately, Nightingale aims to make preventative healthcare in chronic diseases available for everyone.

Industrial or White Biotech Category

The winner, Carbios, is a French green chemistry company focused on discovering and developing enzymatic bioprocesses to reinvent the lifecycle of plastics. By combining enzymology and plasturgy, a novel industrial approach, Carbios brings a major change to the way that plastics are produced and consumed. The company’s processes are based on the use of enzymes produced by natural microorganisms selected for their ability to degrade the polymers that make up plastic materials.

The runner-up was Numaferm, a German spin-off company from the Institute of Biochemistry of the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf that has developed a reliable, cost-efficient technology to manufacture peptides based on well-designed microorganisms that convert simple nutrients to peptides. Peptides are biomolecules with unique characteristics and functionalities – for example pharmaceutical, antimicrobial or adhesive.

Agricultural or Green Biotech Category

The winner and top qualified applicant in this category was Iden Biotechnology, a Spanish company developing biotech products and integrated solutions for crop yield and quality enhancement, including agrobiological products (e.g. plant biostimulants and biopesticides), and more productive crop varieties. Their products are part of the general industry of farm inputs and, within that, the broad sectors of seeds and crop protection.

Jury quotes

NovaBiotics is an outstanding young SME.  They are tacking a global problem of developing new anti-infectives to address hard to treat conditions.  They have been successful in the very difficult space of translating a concept through to the clinic which is so hard for SMEs.  They have benefited from strong leadership and very effective team working. – Dame Anne Glover, Jury Member

Ageing populations imply a growing demand to mitigate the healthcare costs of chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Nightingale Health’s pioneering and comprehensive biomarker analysis method holds great promise in addressing such challenges and enabling better prevention. They are undoubtedly an innovator to watch and recognise. – Frank Bulens, Jury Member

The Jury is delighted to recognize Carbios for their innovation in industrial biotechnology and green chemistry. Taking their cue from nature, their work on enzymes to improve biodegradability and reusability of plastics show how circular economy approaches can be used to address current industrial and environmental challenges in Europe and beyond. – MEP Paul Ruebig, Jury Member

Numaferm has developed a bioprocess-based technology platform, which allows for predictable production of peptides at higher yields, at lower costs and much shorter production time. The disruptive technology can be used for almost all peptides, and production on an industrial scale becomes technically feasible. Numaferm’s technology solves limitations of available technologies and enables the cost-efficient production of peptides for pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, cosmetics, food additives and for other applications. – Peter Heinrich, Jury Member

Iden Biotechnology is cutting-edge, courageous and innovative. They have received recognition through public grants and product development projects at European, national and regional levels. They run projects with Argentina and soon with India, typifying the global and collaborative nature of the biotech business. It is also particularly exciting for us at EuropaBio to see agricultural biotech SMEs applying for the second year in a row, showing that Europe is still inspirational and innovative in the area of agricultural biotechnology. – John Brennan, Jury Member