A highlight of the life sciences calendar and celebrating the achievements of the life science sector, the sold out 2021 Bionow Awards showcased the very best of this world class field.
Back in person for the first time after a very challenging two years, the 2021 Bionow Awards took place beneath the iconic Concorde on 31st March and gave attendees the opportunity to dig out their finery and pop open the champagne to toast the award winners.
Having just completed a very successful BioInfect conference earlier in March, the topic of AMR was fresh in everyone’s minds. The Bionow AMR Award went to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine’s Swab & Send public engagement project, a citizen science and crowdfunding initiative aimed at spreading the word of how important it is to find new antibiotics.
On the topic of infectious diseases and with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, companies have been making significant contributions to further the understanding of this global health crisis. The Bionow Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Award was won by Medicines Discovery Catapult's innovative Alderley Park Lighthouse Laboratory project. As part of a Lighthouse Labs Network, the initiative was set up in March 2020 to support the UK’s fight against coronavirus via the establishment of a network of “mega” testing laboratories, of which the Alderley Park site was one.
This year has also seen some fantastic project work centred around COVID-19 in particular, with Bionow offering two awards in this area: The Bionow Healthcare Project of the Year and the overall Bionow Project of the Year. The University of Liverpool scooped the Healthcare Project of the Year with Combined Intelligence for Population Health Action (CIPHA), a population health management platform, which was established in three months across Cheshire and Merseyside to help the health and care system manage the COVID-19 crisis and to drive its recovery. Meanwhile, project of the Year went to QuantuMDx Group’s rapid deployment of the Q-POC SARS-CoV-2 cassette with Univac, a rapid, PCR point of care diagnostic system.
The use of technology to improve patient care was an important factor in the Bionow Product of the Year award, which was given to Balance App for their pioneering menopause guidance app, allowing users to track symptoms, access personalised expert content, download health reports and more.
Following this theme, Bionow’s Technical Service Award recognised ATMPS Ltd for their Hataali blockchain based platform for ATMP supply chains, allowing their partners in personalised medicine to ensure that data necessary for the production of treatments can be shared between parties in a secure, confidential and regulatory compliant manner.
Acknowledging the importance of logistics within the industry and also the growing drive for sustainability, the Bionow Export Award went to CatSci Ltd, a chemistry solutions provider dedicated to developing economically and environmentally sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing processes.
At a time of growth and expansion for the sector as a whole, the Bionow Investment Deal of the Year was another strongly-contested category, and the award went to BiVictriX Therapeutics, a biotechnology company specialising in novel cancer therapies, which listed on AIM as an IPO and raised £7.5m in the process.
The big winners on the night were the recipients of the Bionow Start Up of the Year and the Company of the Year awards. Firstly, celebrating new ventures was Start Up of the Year recipient, FibroFind, a preclinical drug development organisation specialising in fibrosis and chronic disease.
The Bionow Company of the Year award was FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, a CDMO focusing on the combination technical leadership in cell culture, microbial fermentation, and gene therapies with world class cGMP manufacturing facilities to advance tomorrow’s medicines.
Of course, the evening wasn’t just about the companies. Recognising success on the individual level, the Bionow Promising Technologist of the Year award acknowledged the next generation of technical innovators. This was awarded to Molly Jowsey, a Senior Mechanical Engineer developing disruptive diagnostic technology at QuantuMDx Group, bringing the awards total for the company to two.
The Bionow Outstanding Contribution award also paid tribute to the talents of Janet Hemingway at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who has 34 years’ experience working on the biochemistry and molecular biology of specific enzyme systems associated with xenobiotic resistance, as well as being PI on projects well in excess of £60 million including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded Innovative Vector Control Consortium.
Commenting on a successful evening, Dr Geoff Davison, CEO of Bionow, said: “After another difficult year and one event postponement due to COVID restrictions, we are thrilled to be able to celebrate our fantastic nominees and winners in person. We are proud to be part of a sector that has risen so admirably to the challenges of the past 12 months and continues to show resilience, innovation and tenacity.”
Dr Kath Mackay, Director of Life Sciences at Bruntwood SciTech, said: “The UK’s life sciences sector continues to go from strength to strength and this has been reflected in the outstanding quality of entries for this year’s awards. There is a real sense of momentum behind the industry now, in what is a really exciting period for innovation and enterprise. We’re proud to support many of the sector’s best and brightest at our locations in the North of England and to be celebrating with some of them at these prestigious awards.”
The full list of winners:
Bionow Start Up of the Year Sponsored by RSM UK
Bionow Healthcare Project of the Year Sponsored by Mills & Reeve
Project: Combined Intelligence for Population Health Action (CIPHA)
Bionow Project of the Year Sponsored by Waters Corporation
Project: Rapid deployment of the Q-POC SARS-CoV-2 cassette with Univac
Bionow Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Award Sponsored by SRG
Project: Lighthouse Laboratory
Product: Balance App for the menopause
Bionow Technical Service Award Sponsored by Square One Law
Technical Service: Hataali blockchain based platform for ATMP supply chains
Bionow Promising Technologist of the Year Sponsored by Seqirus
Molly Jowsey, QuantuMDx Group
Bionow Export Award Sponsored by DLA Piper
Bionow AMR Award Sponsored by Infex Therapeutics
Project: The Swab and Send microbial library for antimicrobial discovery
Bionow Investment Deal of the Year Sponsored by QIAGEN
Deal: AIM-IPO of BiVictriX Therapeutics
Bionow Company of the Year Sponsored by AstraZeneca