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2016 Most innovative EU Biotech SME finalists announced in all biotech sectors for first time ever


13 Sep 2016


Innovation & Enterprise
Science & Policymaking

Brussels, 7 September 2016 – EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, today announces the finalists for the most successful edition of its Most Innovative European Biotech SME Awards, a unique annual initiative (now in its seventh year) which recognises innovative biotech SMEs and the crucial role they play in answering some of society’s greatest challenges.

Building from a very strong base of science in Europe, highly innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe are increasingly showing leadership in addressing challenges such as unmet medical needs, resource efficiency, climate change, energy shortages and an ageing and ever increasing population.

A record breaking 41 such companies from 13 European countries applied for this year’s awards and the jury has shortlisted seven of them to compete across three categories: healthcare, industrial and agricultural biotechnology. They will go head to head in a speed-pitching session, followed by an awards ceremony held during EuropaBio’s inaugural European Biotech SME Forum on 27 September at Euronext in Brussels. The awards will be presented by Robert Madelin, Senior Advisor for Innovation to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

[Quote] Tom Saylor, Chairman of the EuropaBio SME Platform: ‘The record number of applications we received this year bears witness not only to the success of entrepreneurial biotech in Europe but to the exceptional diversity of innovation among European biotech SMEs. It is exciting for us at EuropaBio to see agricultural biotech SMEs applying for the first time ever giving us hope that Europe can still inspire innovative ideas in an area that has been so badly hit by a malfunctioning approval system. The jury and I were very much inspired by the amazing research, products and business prowess shown by Europe’s leading biotech SMEs, and we hope that through these awards we put the strongly deserved spotlight on their work and potential.’


The seven shortlisted SMEs are:

Healthcare or Red Biotech Category

Cellectis is a 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).

Oryzon Genomics was born as a spin-off from the University of Barcelona and CSIC and has become a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company listed on the Spanish stock market. Oryzon leverages epigenetics, or heritable changes in gene expression, to develop innovative therapies in oncology and neurodegenerative diseases, and is the most relevant example in the Spanish Innovation Ecosystem of a highly specialized technological engine able to design and produce new first in class drugs and to develop them till clinical proof of concept. With its pipeline, IP portfolio and track record of partnerships, Oryzon has become a European and global leader on epigenetics.

TiGenix is an advanced biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary platforms of allogeneic, or donor-derived, expanded stem cells. Two products from the adipose-derived stem cell technology platform are currently in clinical development. One is in Phase III for the treatment of complex perianal fistulas in Crohn’s disease patients (and for which Takeda recently acquired the exclusive right for commercialization outside the US under a licensing agreement with TiGenix). Another has completed a Phase I sepsis challenge trial and a Phase I/II trial in rheumatoid arthritis. In 2015, TiGenix acquired Coretherapix, whose lead cellular product is currently in a Phase II clinical trial in acute myocardial infarction. In addition, the second product candidate from the cardiac stem cell platform, is being developed in a chronic indication. TiGenix is headquartered in Belgium and has operations in Spain.

Industrial or White Biotech Category

Biosyntia is a Danish biotech start-up in synthetic biology and metabolic engineering. They develop quick and efficient biocatalysts by employing proprietary high-throughput screening technology. This enables the production of complex chemical compounds by fermentation, reducing both production costs and environmental impact compared to other processes such as chemical synthesis. The company partners with manufacturers of fine chemical compounds (flavours, fragrances, APIs, pigments, additives, intermediates, and more) in order to establish greener and more sustainable manufacturing processes.

MetGen is a Finnish biotech company developing cost-effective industrial enzymes that can easily be adopted to any required changes and parameters in industrial production. The company develops and markets enzyme solutions into growing biomass markets within the energy, pulp and paper, packaging, polymers and plastics sectors. Enzymes are the preferred and most sustainable solution to convert cellulosic biomass into valuable fibres, renewable fuels and chemical building blocks. However, the majority of biomass conversion processes have low yields, consume large amounts of energy or chemicals and are highly capital intensive. MetGen’s industrial enzymes enable cellulosic biomass conversion at high yields and low cost.

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.

Agricultural or Green 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



Please visit the awards website to read more about the awards, the jury and the rules.

Media contact

Cosmin Popa, EuropaBio Communications and National Associations Manager

Email: / Telephone: +32 2 739 11 73 / Mobile: +32 499 906 129

About EuropaBio

EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, promotes an innovative and dynamic European biotechnology industry. EuropaBio and its members are committed to the socially responsible use of biotechnology to improve quality of life, to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure diseases, to improve the quality and quantity of food and feedstuffs and to move towards a biobased and zero-waste economy. EuropaBio represents 77 corporate and associate members and bio regions, and 16 national biotechnology associations in turn representing over 1800 biotech SMEs.

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