Life Science Shines Brightly at the Bionow Digital Awards

The outstanding success and achievements of those who have worked tirelessly during the past year, many to address the COVID-19 pandemic, were celebrated at the 19th annual Bionow Awards on Thursday 4th February.

The digital Bionow Awards Ceremony honoured leading life science companies, academic and healthcare organisations as well as the individuals who dedicate their talents to this world beating sector.

Guests marked the occasion in style and the evening proved to be an opportunity to dust off their black ties and evening dresses and pop open the champagne to virtually toast the award winners.

Big winners at the ceremony included F2G who closed a US$60.8 million financing round to fund late-stage development of a novel mechanism antifungal agent and collected the Investment Deal of the Year Award. F2G is a world-leading UK- and Austria-based Biotech company focused on the discovery and development of novel therapies to treat life-threatening invasive fungal infections.

Sygnature Discovery scooped the Bionow Company of the Year Award after a hugely successful period which involved strategic acquisitions to strengthen their technical capabilities, significantly growing their work force and turnover and expanding their footprint into the North of England.

The Bionow Start Up of the Year Award was taken home by LUNAC Therapeutics, a spin-out company from the University of Leeds. LUNAC Therapeutics are developing a first-in-class, next generation oral anticoagulant for the treatment and prevention of life-threatening thrombotic events, without the bleeding risk associated with current anticoagulants.

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, the David Weatherall Chair in Medicine at the University of Liverpool and a Consultant Physician at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust was honoured with the Bionow Outstanding Contribution Award.

Professor Sir Pirmohamed was awarded a Knights Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2015 for his services to medicine and more recently in his role as Chair of the Commission on Human Medicines Expert Working Group has been deeply involved in advising government on the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

In recognition of the next generation of inspirational innovators, the Bionow Promising Technologist of the Year Award went to Jason Lacombe of Veratrak. Jason has built a career making medicines more affordable, safe and transparent for everyone.  With a background as a health economist, Jason has invented a blockchain technology which could revolutionise the life sciences industry.

With antimicrobial resistance (AMR) representing one of the biggest public health challenges of our time, the Bionow AMR Award rewards those who are working to create a truly global and effective response to AMR. The winner, Antibiotic Research UK, has developed a programme that uniquely brokers the patient voice in decision making within AMR. Through their Patient Support Programme, patients and families suffering with resistant bacterial infections now have access to confidential support and bespoke information.

The award ceremony also saw the addition of the ‘Bionow Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Award’. The award was conceived to reward research or innovation that has the potential to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.

Cobra Biologics was the victor of this award. The company is a leading member of the Oxford Vaccine UK Consortium and has focused on scaling up the manufacturing of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. The company has manufactured several large batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine which is now being administered across the UK. This in addition to supporting five other Covid-19 vaccine candidates and continuing its commitments to existing clients.

The Bionow Export Award went to Arcinova, a rapidly growing CDMO which was founded in 2016 and has been recording accelerated growth in exports ever since. During 2020 the company remained resolute and continued to operate in an agile and flexible manner. Exports now account for more than 80% of the winner’s sales with 28% year on year growth.

Sky Medical Technology scooped the Healthcare Project award with their innovative GekoTM device which can reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis in high-risk patients during pregnancy. DVT represents the biggest cause of maternal death in the UK and the winner worked with Barnsley Hospital which as a result is the first maternity unit in the UK to offer all patients access to viable blood clot prevention.

Winning the Bionow Technical Service Award, Perfectus Biomed Group refocused their virology focus, expertise and understanding to offer testing that determined the efficacy of products designed to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Their focus on the service led to a major expansion of the team creating 10 new jobs in the virology department with turnover in this sector increasing 10-fold versus 2019.

Safe Steps collected the Bionow Product of the Year Award. The company have introduced an intelligent and intuitive digital system which helps save staff time, reduce manual data reporting and improve patient safety. The world’s most successful falls prevention app is now live in 434 care homes, with outcomes indicating a 28% reduction in falls and a 20% reduction in ambulance callouts within the first 15 months of use.

Phoenix DX, the recipient of the Bionow Project of the Year Award, is an innovative medical diagnostics company who has addressed the challenge of infectious diseases like COVID-19 by developing an ultra-rapid, point-of-care diagnostic device for infectious diseases. Viruses are detected as quickly as 6 to 10 minutes, much faster than the gold standard which usually takes 2 hours.

The evening also gave recognition via a short video to those in the North of England who are at the forefront of the efforts to understand and combat the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is truly remarkable to see the how the sector has collaborated to rapidly develop new PPE, services, diagnostics, vaccines, treatments and understanding of the fundamental basis of the disease.

Geoff Davison, CEO of Bionow, said: “Given the situation we are all in, the work undertaken by all our winners and nominees in the past year has been truly inspiring. I think this once again showcases the North and the UK as truly world leading and the place to pioneer, develop and launch new products treatments and technologies. Despite the disruption and uncertainty, the life science sector has found a way to continue to make a difference and improve lives around the world.”

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