Leiden, The Netherlands, 8 November 2011 – 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.