Prosensa named Most Innovative European Biotech SME

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.