LEIDEN, Netherlands--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Prosensa, the Dutch biopharmaceutical company focusing on rare diseases with a high unmet medical need, has won EuropaBio’s Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award 2011, presented at a ceremony in Brussels earlier today. The award comes with prize money of €10,000 and two years’ membership of EuropaBio.
The EuropaBio Award recognises Prosensa’s pioneering role in helping patients and their families affected by rare, progressively debilitating diseases. Prosensa’s lead product, PRO051 (GSK2402968), is currently in Phase III trials in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). This is a rare, genetic, childhood disease that afflicts approximately 1 in 3,500 newborn boys. As early as the age of 2, boys begin to show signs of muscle weakness, they are often wheelchair bound before the age of 12 and few become older than 30 years. There is currently no available therapy for DMD.
Prosensa’s technological approach, RNA modulation through ‘exon skipping’, applies some of the most advanced techniques known in modern genetics and molecular biology.
“Over the last three years Prosensa has more than tripled its workforce, to 80 people, all of whom share one mission: to find a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” said Hans Schikan, CEO of Prosensa. “We are very proud to receive this award, which is a recognition for all employees of Prosensa and our many partners, without whom we would not have come to this stage.”
Integral to Prosensa’s business model are the close collaborations with its academic partners, with GSK, as well as the many DMD patient organizations that are active in raising both awareness of the disease and funds for research and development.
The selection process for the award was judged by G. Steven Burrill, Founder and CEO of Burrill & Company, Tom Saylor, CEO of Arecor and Chairman of EuropaBio’s SME Platform, Paul Ruebig, MEP and Chair of the SME Union and Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Prosensa is an innovative Dutch biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of RNA modulating therapeutics correcting gene expression in rare diseases with a high unmet medical need. Prosensa’s focus is on developing a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Prosensa’s technology is based on a collaboration with Leiden University Medical Center. In 2009 Prosensa entered into a strategic alliance for part of its DMD exon skipping program with GlaxoSmithKline. Prosensa’s lead compound (PRO051/GSK2402968), being developed by GSK, entered phase III clinical trials in January 2011. Prosensa is a privately held biopharmaceutical company, backed by a consortium of Abingworth, GIMV, Idinvest, LSP and MedSciences Capital. For more information about Prosensa, please visit www.prosensa.com
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a severely debilitating childhood neuromuscular disease that affects 1 in 3,500 live male births. This rare disease is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene, resulting in the absence or defect of the dystrophin protein. Patients suffer from progressive loss of muscle strength due to the absence or defect of the dystrophin protein, often making them wheelchair bound before the age of 12. Respiratory and cardiac muscle can also be affected by the disease and most patients die in early adulthood due to respiratory and cardiac failure.
About the EuropaBio SME Award
EuropaBio's Most Innovative Biotech SME Award aims to reward European Biotech SMEs that have developed an innovative solution to technical, social and environmental problems. The aim of the prize is to promote and support outstanding and innovative ideas of biotechnology in small and medium enterprises across European countries. A panel of highly respected and independent luminaries produces a shortlist of nominees and chooses the winner.