The Best of the Best: Scottish Enterprise Life Sciences Awards 2016
Celebrating a fantastic evening at the Scottish Enterprise Life Sciences Awards 2016, Julia Brown, Senior Director of Life & Chemical Sciences at Scottish Enterprise is our guest blogger and provides a roundup of the nights events & insights into the winners.
New Venue, New Format
What better place to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding life sciences sector than the National Museum of Scotland? The museum celebrates Scotland’s history of science and invention – and we gathered in the Grand Gallery to recognise the people and organisations that continue to build Scotland’s global reputation for life sciences.
The new venue wasn’t the only change for Scotland’s Life Sciences Dinner and Annual Awards 2016: there was a new format too. The presentations were shorter, leaving much more time for the 800 attendees to network – allowing policy makers, investors, academic leaders and companies to forge new connections.
Recognising Scotland’s excellence in life sciences
But it wasn’t all chit-chat. The awards recognise the success and achievements of Scotland’s internationally-renowned life sciences sector in areas including innovation, investment, community engagement and collaboration. They also focus on the ongoing work of Scottish Enterprise and its partners to grow and develop a sustainable, globally competitive life sciences sector in Scotland.
It’s a pleasure to congratulate this year’s winners. The quality of the finalists and winners was outstanding and is testament to the strength of the Scottish life sciences industry.
So who won which award, and what for?
Life Sciences Business Leadership: Dr Tom Stratford, ProStrakan
Becoming one of Europe’s fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies doesn’t happen by accident. Much of ProStrakan’s success is down to the exceptional leadership of CEO Dr Tom Stratford, who has steered the company since its acquisition in 2011 by Japan-based Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co. This award recognises Dr Stratford’s contribution to the Scottish economy, the Scottish life sciences sector and to the wellbeing of patients internationally.
Life Sciences Entrepreneurial Business Leadership: Prof Martin Tangney and Mark Simmers
The award for entrepreneurship went to Prof Martin Tangney and Mark Simmers, for their work on industrial biotechnology for Celtic Renewables.
Professor Tangey is Director of the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, and an internationally recognised expert in microbial biofuel production. Mark is co-founder and CEO of Celtic Renewables, and together they have developed a way to make biofuel from the residues of Scotch whisky production. We can all raise a glass to that.
Investment of the Year: Novabiotics
Novabiotics develops antifungal and antibacterial therapeutics for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, and secured £5 million investment from high profile Woodford Investment Management in 2015. That takes its total funding to £17 million, allowing the company to take its treatment through the next phase of clinical trials – and earning it the award of Investment of the Year.
Innovation Award: Ripptide Pharma
The life sciences sector abounds with innovations – choosing one for this award was difficult. It went, in the end, to Ripptide Pharma for their novel method of drug discovery, allowing potential oral treatments for inflammation, autoimmune disease and cancer. Ripptide was formed by two leading academic groups, led by Professor Jim Naismith from the University of St Andrews, and Professor Marcel Jaspars, University of Aberdeen.
The prize for innovative collaboration went to a consortium set up to produce domesticated, disease-free farmed wrasse for Scotland’s fish farming industry. It was established in 2012, and brings together leading UK wrasse researchers at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, world-leading salmon producers Marine Harvest Scotland and Scottish Seafarms, and feed manufacturer BioMar. Collaborating across the supply chain has given this consortium a unique perspective for innovative change.
Community Engagement: Easter Bush Campus
The prize for community engagement was awarded to The Easter Bush Campus, which houses The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The Roslin Institute, and Scotland’s Rural College. It’s the largest concentration of animal science related expertise in Europe, bringing together a community of 2,000 researchers, clinicians, students and support staff.
Export and international trade: Vascutek
For Renfrewshire-based Vascutek, exports accounted for 91% of the company’s global sales revenue in the year ending March 2015. The company’s 700-strong workforce is highly skilled, manufacturing products that include polyester surgical grafts and endovascular stent grafts, which are shipped to over 90 countries. That level of exporting activity makes this prize well deserved.
Outstanding Contribution to Life Sciences in Scotland:
David Sibbald, Aridhia
Finally, the award for outstanding contribution to the sector went to Dr David Sibbald, Co-founder and Chairman of Aridhia. The company develops world-leading technology to support the management of chronic diseases – and accelerate the translation of precision medicine and biomedical research into clinical practice.
It was a wonderful evening – and a chance to recognise the great people working in life sciences in Scotland. And once the clapping’s over and the hubbub has died down, we can look forward to building on this success for 2016.
Find out more about how we support Scotland’s life sciences on the Scottish Enterprise website