News & Views
Scotland’s Leading Life Science Companies Recognised at Annual Awards
Apr 30 2010
More than 750 leading life sciences individuals and organisations gathered in Edinburgh on Thursday February 4th for the Scottish Enterprise Life Sciences annual awards and dinner. Roslin-based biotech spin-out Big DNA, has been named the Best New Life Sciences Company in Scotland for its work in designing and developing new and innovative vaccines. The company has gone from strength to strength since being established in 2006, raising significant public and private sector investment. To date, the company has developed a number of therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine candidates to target a number of human and veterinary diseases.
Rhona Allison, Senior Director of Life Sciences at Scottish Enterprise, said: “BigDNA is a very worthy winner of the award for the Best New Life Science Company in Scotland. It has come an incredibly long way since being spun out from the Moredun Institute and is a great example of Scotland’s highly ambitious and innovative young life sciences community. “The sector is trailblazing Scotland’s economic future with some of the most ambitious and exciting projects in the country and we at Scottish Enterprise, along with all those involved, will continue to work hard to support a globally orientated, sustainable and fully connected life sciences industry.
” Dr John March, Chief Executive of BigDNA, said: “I am delighted to win this prestigious award which is recognition for my team’s achievements here in Edinburgh on the development of new vaccines. I would like to thank our investors and Scottish Enterprise for all the support and encouragement we have received as we develop this important new technology which has the potential to save millions of lives across the world in years to come.”
Vascutek, (Renfrewshire) a Terumo Company specialising in designing and manufacturing products to treat cardiovascular disease scooped the prestigious Innovation Award. The company received the accolade for its new BioValsalvaTM Heart Valve Conduit, the world’s first medical device combining a biological heart valve and a sealed vascular graft. The device is intended to be used to treat patients who have aortic valve disease with an aortic aneurism, a group of patients who, if left untreated, are at risk of severe and often fatal, heart problems. The device allows surgeons to reduce both operating time and blood loss during replacement procedures and can also expand the range of patients to whom the surgery is offered. A major advantage of BioValsalvaTM is that it can eliminate the need for post op medications and monitoring visits to clinics, because surgeons no longer need to implant preassembled devices that use mechanical valves rather than biological valves. Patients receiving a mechanical valve need to take lifelong anti-coagulation medication which biological valve recipients do not require.The device has been approved for use in 42 countries and 2000 have already been sold.
“Congratulations to Vascutek on winning this year’s Innovation Award. The company’s BioValsalvaTM has proven itself to be a ground breaking innovation which has brought significant improvements to cardiothoracic surgery,” said Rhona Allison.
A company spokesman said: “We are delighted to receive this award which recognises the design, manufacturing, quality assurance and regulatory capabilities of our staff. We believe this device will make a valuable contribution to cardiothoracic surgery. With an increasing ageing population requiring a higher level of cardiac intervention, our product has been brought to the market at the right time.”
Axis-Shield, a Dundee-based life sciences company won the award for best Business Leadership, which recognises business leaders and management teams that have significantly advanced a Scottish life sciences company in the previous year. Leaders at Axis-Shield were judged to have expertly guided the company during the economic downturn to report another year of significant progress in 2009. The company, which has grown from a spin out in 1982 to a multinational with around 500 staff globally, has delivered a number of landmark achievements over the last year including Food & Drug Administration (FDA) clearance on a range of innovative products with global market potential.
Rhona Allison said: “Axis-Shield is a high quality company and an excellent winner of this year’s Business Leadership Award. Its management team has guided the company to an outstanding year.”
Ian Gilham, Chief Executive of Axis-Shield, commented: “We are very pleased to have our achievements at Axis-Shield recognised by winning such a prestigious award. Since the inception of Shield Diagnostics as a spin-out from the University of Dundee in the early 1980’s we have gone from strength to strength and we are now producing substantial sustainable revenues and profits and are quoted on the London and Oslo Stock Exchanges. Our Dundee Headquarters remain a cornerstone of our profitability and we expect to continue to grow our laboratory diagnostics sales from this important site for our global business.”
A highly innovative solution to safely restraining and transporting critically ill children also scooped a prestigious Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL) Award for best innovation originating from NHS Scotland. Keith Colver and David Fitzpatrick from the Scottish Ambulance Service worked in conjunction with SHIL and Lightweight Medical to produce the Ambulance Child Restraint® (ACR), the only paediatric restraint capable of fitting all
children less than 45 kg which is fully crash tested to CEN compliance levels. Sandy Allan, chief executive officer of Scottish Health Innovations Ltd, said: “There is no one better placed to devise new and innovative ways to improve patient care than those who deliver it. This innovation from the Scottish Ambulance service will provide a much needed solution to a problem experienced by ambulance services across the UK.“This Award is a real chance for us to recognise and reward those at the frontline of the NHS who think innovatively and are constantly looking to improve patient care.”
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