The outstanding contribution made to life sciences by entrepreneur Dr Stephen Little, Chief Executive of AIM-listed molecular diagnostics company Premaitha Health, was recognised last night at the 16th annual Bionow Awards.
Dr Little, who led Manchester Science Park-based Premaitha through its successful AIM listing in July 2014, has an impressive track record of building biotech businesses and creating value.
He is the former CEO of DxS, an innovator in the field of personalised medicine, developing and manufacturing companion diagnostics. DxS was funded with £3.5m in 2001 and was sold to QIAGEN in 2009 for £85m. QIAGEN now has more than 250 employees in Manchester, which is its third-largest global base.
Before DxS, Dr Little worked for 20 years in various senior positions in the diagnostic divisions of AstraZeneca and ICI. He holds a PhD from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
Celebrating the outstanding leaders and innovators in the life sciences sector in the North of England, the Bionow awards ceremony was attended by more than 400 people at the Mere Golf Resort and Spa in Cheshire.
In the highly sought-after Company of the Year category, Keele Science Park-based Cobra Biologics was triumphant. Cobra, an international contract development and manufacturer of biologics and pharmaceuticals, is in the midst of a £15m expansion programme in the UK and Sweden. The company, which manufactures DNA and viral vectors for the gene therapy market, exports 98% of its products.
A £700,000 fundraising by University of Manchester spin-out company Microbiosensor, which develops disposable point-of-care medical devices, was named Investment Deal of the Year, while Peter Chater a research associate at the University of Newcastle won in the prestigious Promising Technologist of the Year category.
The awards, which recognise excellence, outstanding achievement and enterprise in a sector that is worth £11bn to the North’s economy, were sponsored by Manchester Science Partnerships, Appleyard Lees and World Courier.
The full list of winners was:
Bionow Start Up of the Year Award (Sponsored by RSM)
Bionow Healthcare Project of the Year Award (Sponsored by TRUSTECH)
Sky Medical Technology / James Cook University Hospital South Tees NHS Trust -
Reducing the time to surgery for ankle fracture patients.
Bionow Project of the Year Award (Sponsored by Waters Corporation)
University of Manchester, test for the management and assessment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Bionow Product of the Year Award (Sponsored by The Innovation Agency)
Crawford Healthcare – KerraContact Ag
Bionow Technical Service Award (Sponsored by Gateley plc)
Cobra Biologics - Delivery of Technical Services related to the process development and manufacture of Plasmid DNA for Gene Therapy Products in clinical trials
Bionow Business Services Award (Sponsored by World Courier)
Innovation Agency, Healthcare Business Connect
Bionow Promising Technologist of the Year Award (Sponsored by Seqirus)
Peter Chater, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Newcastle University
Bionow Investment Deal of the Year Award (Sponsored by QIAGEN)
Microbiosensor Limited - Series A investment in Microbiosensor by Catapult Ventures and Maven Capital Partners
Bionow Outstanding Contribution Award (Sponsored by Sci-Tech Daresbury)
Dr Steve Little, Chief Executive Officer, Premaitha Health plc
Bionow Company of the Year Award (Sponsored by AstraZeneca)
Dr Geoff Davison, chief executive of Bionow, said: “The critical importance of the life sciences sector has been acknowledged in the Government’s new Industrial Strategy this week. It is hugely pleasing to see new financial support and a clear focus on supporting R&D-focused businesses and encouraging collaboration with the NHS as part of this.
“Locally it’s great to see a leading international company like QIAGEN announcing plans to grow its presence in the North – a clear vote of confidence in our sector.”
Dr Davison added: “As ever we had an incredibly strong shortlist all are to be commended for their innovation in providing solutions which have the potential to be game-changing in the industry.
“Steve Little is unquestionably one of the most successful entrepreneurs in our sector and he thoroughly deserves recognition for what he has achieved.”
Thomas Renn, Managing Director of Manchester Science Partnerships, which sponsors the Bionow awards said: “We are delighted to support these important awards and to see so many of our customers and partners honoured. Particular congratulations should go to our customer Dr Stephen Little, (CEO of Premaitha Health) who continues to make outstanding contributions to the sector, and his recognition is thoroughly well deserved. The North has a reputation for world-class life science innovations and with businesses like those recognised in these Awards, we are confident that the sector will continue to flourish.
“The life sciences sector has been recognised by the Government as one of the UK’s most important and dynamic. In the North we are looking forward to executing the new Industrial Strategy, leveraging our core strengths in developing knowledge, collaborating with our clinical and academic partners, creating high-value skilled jobs and attracting investment.”
A not-for-profit membership organisation, Bionow supports the North of England’s burgeoning life sciences sector, which currently includes some 1,000 science and healthcare companies with a combined turnover of around £10.9bn. Its member base includes start-ups and spin-outs as well as well-established businesses. The services it offers to firms include dedicated business support programmes, shared procurement schemes and recruitment and training support.