In an exciting twist, two companies have been announced as winners of EuropaBio’s Most Innovative Biotech SME Award 2012. Commission Vice President Tajani who presented the award, during the event hosted by Dr. Kay Swinburne MEP at the European Parliament on 19th September, named both Austrian healthcare biotech SME ProtAffin AG and Global Bioenergies a French industrial biotech SME- as joint winners of the award.
The two winning entries competed against three other outstanding runners up: Green Biologics Ltd (UK), Promethera BioSciences (Belgium) and to-BBB (The Netherlands). The top five candidates were selected from a record breaking total of 37 applicants to this year’s award, now in its 3rd year. Entries were received from 17 Member States, operating in all three sectors of biotechnology from healthcare to industrial and agriculture. The five finalists presented their achievements in front of an audience of approximately 100 guests including G.Steven Burrill, Founder and CEO of Burrill and Company, Kay Swinburn MEP, Philippe De Backer MEP, as well as other high level policy makers, biotechnology CEOs and venture capitalists.
Global Bioenergies (France) 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 CO2 emissions as well as generating new jobs in rural areas.
ProtAffin AG (Austria) 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 (COPD affects an estimated 65 million people worldwide and is the 4th leading cause of death in the West).
Speaking at the event, Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio stated: “EuropaBio is immensly proud to be able to recognise the achievements and contributions that Europe’s Biotech SMEs make to society, for the 3rd consecutive year. The quality of applications and high level of innovation focused on responding to societal needs seen at this year’s EuropaBio Most Innovative EU Biotech SME Award is underscored by the fact that this year we selected not one but two winners. Both Global Bioenergies and ProtAffin AG have displayed an exceptional level of innovation in biotechnology and business acumen. It is no secret that SMEs in Europe face a daily struggle with regard to the regulatory and financial environment, and what is important for stakeholders and policy makers to remember is that these innovative SMEs are often providing not only employment across the EU but innovative solutions to some of our society’s most pressing needs. It is essential that we retain a sound regulatory and financial environment in Europe in which research, innovation and product development can flourish”.
EuropaBio, press release, 2012-09-20.