Press release

Top five biotech SMEs in Europe announced

Shortlist for the 2014 Biotech SME Awards. 

Brussels- 01st September-Today, EuropaBio is proud to announce the top five biotech SMEs in Europe, who will compete to win the 5th annual Most Innovative EU Biotech SME Award.

The annual EuropaBio award ceremony will take place during the European Biotech Week on October 8th in Brussels. The award will be presented by Daniel Calleja-Crespo, Director General and Special SME Envoy, DG Industry and Entrepreneurship, European Commission.

The top five candidates for this year’s EuropaBio Most Innovative EU Biotech SME award- which first began in 2010- were selected from a total of 35 applicants, from right across the EU and operating in all sectors of biotechnology.  They are:

Autifony: An independent UK-based healthcare biotechnology company, focussed on the development of high value novel medicines to treat hearing disorders and serious disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), such as schizophrenia. Its lead compound is a first-in-class, oral pharmaceutical that targets auditory processing in the brain, aiming to treat age related hearing loss and tinnitus.

Bio-on: Is an Italian company working in the field of industrial biotechnology applied to widely used materials, creating natural products and solutions based on renewable resources or on agricultural processing waste material. Bio-on designed and patented the first fully biobased plastic PHAs obtained from agriculture waste, co- and by-products through natural bacterial fermentation processes and without chemical solvents. This real bioplastic is 100% naturally biodegradable in both water and soil and suitable for use in application areas particularly demanding as: biomedical devices, automotive, food packaging and others.

Biosyntia: Is a Danish industrial biotech SME, providing unique fermentation solutions to chemical manufacturing companies. Their core technology RIBOSELECT™ accelerates discovery of novel enzymes and pathways required for cell factory development, and cell factory optimization, based on E.coli and yeast. The platform allows cell factory development for any type of fine chemical (e.g. food ingredients, fragrances, colours, and blockbuster pharmaceuticals).

Erytech Pharma: Is a French biopharmaceutical company that develops an innovative concept to starve cancer cells in specific essential nutrients, and quickly induce their death without impairing any healthy cells.  The originality of ERYTECH’s technology relies on the use of red blood cells (RBCs) loaded with therapeutic enzyme to develop safe targeted therapies to treat cancer.

to-BBB: a Dutch biotechnology company developing novel treatments for patients with devastating brain diseases. to-BBB's G-Technology® facilitates passage of therapeutics through the blood-brain barrier, thus enabling or improving brain distribution of approved as well as novel therapeutics. to-BBB’s lead clinical programs target multiple types of brain cancers, including brain metastases from breast cancer, as well as neuro-inflammatory diseases.

The award has gained strong support and recognition as the main event amongst policy makers and the biotech business community alike, for outlining the issues faced by innovative SMEs operating in Europe such as intellectual property protection, access to finance and general innovation climate in Europe.  As well as this, the award aims to showcase some of the most outstanding examples of how biotechnology is of real benefit to society in areas as diverse as healthcare, agriculture, and industrial processes.

This year’s award ceremony will have a particular focus on financing, with the European Investment Bank presenting their new ‘Growth Financing Facility’ for funding innovative companies in the EU, as well as the European Commission illustrating their new ‘SME Instrument’ under Horizon 2020.  Additionally, an overview of the new package of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), announced by the Commission last month, will be given, with a particular focus on IMI II and the new PPP for biobased industries.


The event will be followed on 9th October by the ‘ENTENTE Life Science Investor Forum’, which will give R&D intensive SMEs the opportunity to pitch their innovation research and financing requirements in front of an international jury consisting of about 40 business angels, venture capitalists, corporate investors and other industry experts. Participation is based on prior selection by the judging panel and the top 28 most attractive companies to investors will be invited to join the forum.

Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio stated: “I am delighted to announce the top five SME contenders for this year’s EuropaBio Most Innovative EU Biotech SME Award.  This year we have an exciting mix of excellent healthcare and industrial biotech companies, which are working on crucial areas to benefit society in their respective fields.  Sadly, as in previous years, there has been no improvement in the operating environment for agricultural SMEs in Europe, due to Europe’s hostile regulatory and policy environment for small and large companies operating in this sector.”

Tom Saylor, Chair of the EuropaBio SME Platform stated:  “The quality of applicants for EuropaBio’s Biotech SME Award again demonstrates the enormous asset represented by biotechnology in Europe.  However, despite an improvement in biotech investment, finance remains the most important constraint on ensuring benefit through sustainable biotech enterprises based in Europe.  This year, the SME award event will highlight the issue of financing for innovative SMEs.  We welcome both the European Investment Bank and European Commission’s participation to showcase the range of new initiatives that are available to SMEs to support sustainability for one of Europe’s most important innovation powerhouses.”



About EuropaBio

EuropaBio is the European Association for Bioindustries, bringing together bioscience companies from all fields of research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products. Its corporate, associate and national association members are involved in research, development, testing, manufacturing and commercialisation of biotechnology products and processes, and have a wide range of activities: human and animal health care, diagnostics, bio-informatics, chemicals, crop protection, agriculture, food and environmental products and services.

About the SME Platform

EuropaBio’s SME Platform focuses its activities on highlighting challenges and financial constraints that biotech SMEs face, and developing policy recommendations to optimise EU and member state funding instruments for biotech SMEs. The SME Platform brings together CEOs, of SMEs, National Biotech Associations, Venture Capitalists and private banks, European financial institutions, representatives from the EC, and other interested stakeholders.