The outstanding leaders and innovators in the North of England’s life sciences industry – which is worth more than £13bn to the regional economy – were honoured last night at the 18th annual Bionow Awards.
The ceremony, held in Cheshire, saw leading life sciences companies, academic and health organisations acknowledged by their peers for their application of cutting edge technologies.
Big winners on the night included Yourgene Health, a molecular diagnostics group which develops and commercialises genetic products and services. It scooped both the Bionow Company of the Year and the Bionow Investment Deal of the Year Award for its acquisition of Elucigene Diagnostics.
The group works in partnership with global leaders in DNA technology to advance diagnostic science. Headquartered at Citylabs in Manchester, Yourgene Health launched its first oncology product, the Elucigene DPYD assay, this year as it looks to broaden its offering within precision medicine.
The Bionow Start Up of the Year Award was taken home by Ostique, a company which designs innovative stoma covers that improve the mobility, social inclusion and wellbeing of patients. It is inspired by the brothers of founders Stephanie Monty, who both have Crohn’s disease.
Bernard Ross, the CEO and founder of SciTech Daresbury-based Sky Medical Technology, which develops bioelectronic solutions for clinicians who treat vascular related conditions, was honoured with the Bionow Outstanding Contribution Award.
Bernard set up the company in 2008 to commercialise OnPulse technology, which involves strapping a device the size of a wristwatch to the back of the knee and helped some British athletes improve their performances at the London Olympics. It was the result of a 3-year programme of research at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London looking to find a better way to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Sky Medical Technology has since collaborated with the Royal Stoke University Hospital NHS Trust on a study that has seen use of the company’s geko™ device in preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE), blood clots, in high-risk patients at the hospital’s leading Stroke Unit.
In recognition of the next generation of inspirational innovators, the Bionow Promising Technologist of the Year Award went to David Chisholm of LightOx. David has been instrumental in the creation of this spin-out company where he now leads the chemistry R&D team.
Other winners on the night included the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Bradford, Quay Pharma, F2G, BBI Europe and Evotec.
Geoff Davison, CEO of Bionow, said: “The work undertaken by all our winners and nominees in the past year has been truly inspiring, and leaves me in doubt our sector is well placed to drive forward disruptive and pioneering products, treatments and developments that will vastly improve lives around the world.”
Rowena Burns, Chair of Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), one of the sponsors of the awards said: “It’s been another stand-out year of achievement and progress for life sciences in the North, where the strong spirit of partnership between academia, the NHS and businesses of all sizes, is leading to the development of some exciting new products and therapies.
“MSP and Alderley Park are proud to be at the heart of this community and are committed to not only creating world-class facilities for innovation-led businesses, but enabling new partnerships and collaborations, and providing access to the skills, talent, and funding they need to scale.
“We are proud to support the Bionow Awards as they continue to go from strength to strength, and we’re delighted to see our customer Yourgene Health winning two awards, including the prestigious Company of the Year.
“Bionow does tremendous work in championing and empowering the sector across the north, and it’s an honour for us to help support this celebration of what our region has to offer.”
Mark Wigglesworth, Director Hit Discovery at AstraZeneca, commented: “Innovation is very important to AstraZeneca, and we are delighted to sponsor Bionow’s Company of the Year award and be part of celebrating the innovative products and business strategy Yourgene Health have demonstrated.”
Guests at the dinner at the Mere Golf Resort and Spa were entertained by medical professional and comedian Dr Phil Hammond. The evening was sponsored by Alderley Park, Appleyard Lees, Manchester Science Partnerships and World Courier.
The full list of winners was: