Living Cell Technologies (LCT) was given the Top Bioscience Company award and Dr Doug Wilson received the Janssen Distinguished Biotechnologist at the 2013 NZBio Conference Awards.
NZBio chief executive Dr George Slim says the judges rewarded LCT for taking its complex technology over tough regulatory hurdles to show considerable promise in human trials.
“The company has a strong portfolio of follow-on products and has recently entered into a partnership deal with a major international pharmaceutical company,” the judges said.
LCT partners with Japan's Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company and late last year signed an agreement with Otsuka to fund a clinical phase one trial for its Parkinson's disease treatment.
Wilson is a graduate of the University of Auckland Medical School and did post-graduate research in London before starting an academic career in Auckland. In 1987 he became New Zealand medical director of Boehringer Ingelheim in New Zealand.
Wilson became head of Boehringer Ingelheim Clinical Research Institute, overseeing all clinical research worldwide for the company. He then became head of medicine and regulatory affairs worldwide, based in Germany, overseeing all the research programmes for the company and all interactions with the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA).
The NZBio Awards also recognised emerging talent in the sector - the Emerging Company Award went to Biotelliga, a south Auckland-based producer of non-chemical pest control sprays.
The Young Biotechnologist Award was presented to Hywel Griffiths from Photonz, an Auckland company which produces the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from its primary source, marine microalgae. EPA is an important ingredient in regulated pharmaceutical products and medicinal foods addressing cardiovascular disease.
The judges said Griffiths has an outstanding record of doctoral and post-doctoral research in Europe and is now contributing to development of bioprocesses for a leading New Zealand company.
“Dr Griffiths is an acknowledged world leader in a complex area of science and has recruited and led an excellent team of scientists as the company grows rapidly,” they said.
The young biotechnologist of the year is awarded to someone under 40 years old.
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