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Finalists nominted for the 2008 EUROPEAN BIOTECHNICA AWARD


The three finalists of the 2008 EUROPEAN BIOTECHNICA AWARD have been determined. The biotechnology companies nominated are Cambridge-based Astex Therapeutics Limited (UK), Geneart AG from Regensburg (Germany) and immatics biotechnologies GmbH based in Tubingen (Germany). The prize, worth EUR 100,000, is awarded to innovative European biotechnology and life sciences companies. 'Innovation capacity is the driving force behind the economic success of one of the most important sectors of the future. With the EUROPEAN BIOTECHNICA AWARD, we are supporting upcoming biotechnology firms which, thanks to their dedication, make a significant contribution to the development of Europe as a research location', emphasized Stephan Kuhne, Board member of Deutsche Messe AG. This year will mark the sixth anniversary of the award presented by Deutsche Messe AG and partners.

The British company Astex Therapeutics researches small molecule drugs and develops them into therapeutics. Using its pioneering drug-discovery platform Pyramid (TM), Astex has already developed five substances which are being tested for use to fight cancer. Three of these are currently undergoing clinical trials and two are in pre-clinical development. In addition to its proprietary research programs, the Cambridge-based firm's corporate performance is characterized by its numerous partnerships with reputable pharmaceutical companies.

Geneart is the world's leading manufacturer of synthetic genes and one of the foremost global specialists in synthetic biology. The company contributes the key technologies necessary to develop and produce new therapeutics and vaccines. At the same time Geneart's services can be used to improve the properties of enzymes, such as those used as additives in detergents, and to generate bacteria which produce or degrade complex biopolymers, such as plastic or petroleum.

The biopharmaceutical company immatics identifies and validates, using its own technologies, new substances to treat various types of cancer. These consist of short peptides which stimulate the cellular response of the human immune system against tumors. The Tubingen-based immunotherapeutics specialist is focusing on treatments for renal cell carcinoma.

According to Professor Dr Peter Stadler, Chairman of the international jury of top-class biotechnology experts: 'all three companies have submitted convincing concepts. Alongside innovative technologies and highly promising products, they also show proof of excellent business expertise. Their products, services and business ideas are certainly a valuable asset to the European biotechnology sector'.

The winner of the three short-listed companies will be announced on October 6, during the opening celebrations for BIOTECHNICA 2008. Gunter Verheugen, EU-Commissioner, will be handing out the prizes. The award ceremony will form the prelude to BIOTECHNICA 2008, which will be held at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds from October 7 through 9, 2008. All three finalists will be showcased in the exhibition on the 'Gateway to Biotechnology' stand in Hall 9.

Source: Deutsche Messe AG