The best of the North of England’s biomedical companies were honoured at the 2014 Biomedical Awards, hosted by Bionow at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, on Gateshead Quays on 24 April 2014.

Sixteen companies battled it out in five award categories: Export, sponsored by CBSL; Outstanding Growth, sponsored by Sintons LLP; Innovation and Technology, sponsored by NETPark NET; Partnership/Collaboration of the Year, sponsored by Newcastle Biomedicine; and Promising Technologist of the Year, sponsored by Search Scientific, which is awarded to an exceptional individual who works for a biomedical company or2014-Biomedical-Awards-winners research institution.

The Export award was presented to Hartlepool-based Hart Biologicals Ltd, which is engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of ‘in-vitro’ diagnostic products, which are used in the detection, prevention and monitoring of a number of medical conditions relating to haemostasis and platelet function. In 2013, the company achieved over £850,000 of export sales in Germany alone, as well as adding contracts in both Europe and the USA to its manufacturing base.

In the Outstanding Growth category, Middlesbrough-based WhiteWash Laboratories claimed top spot for its highly impressive performance over the last 12 months. The company, which was launched in 2010, has developed a range of innovative teeth whitening treatments and products – its UK market share with dentists has increased significantly over the past year and the company is now achieving success within the corporate market, as well as in overseas markets through a network of distributors. The company sells its products through IBH, the biggest dental oral care supplier in the UK and they are stocked in more than 1000 dental practices.

The winner of the Innovation and Technology Award was Newcastle-based Glythera, which develops next generation therapeutics through the application of its proprietary technologies, PermaLink™ and PermaCarb™. These technologies, used in the development of new or the re-positioning of current biotherapeutics, offer improved stability, bioavailability and efficiency in oncology and therapeutic applications. The company has focused the development of its PermaLink™ technology in the area of antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) and it has drawn significant interest from firms developing ADCs, resulting in national and international collaborations. In the Partnership/Collaboration of the Year category, two companies were recognised for their outstanding achievements.

Newcastle-based Keiro was honoured for its collaboration with a business – not-for-profit housing association Erimus Housing. This has seen the two firms work together to provide on-site transitional housing for clients at The Gateway, a multi-million pound facility developed by Keiro to provide services to people who have who have been discharged from hospital-based neuro, stroke and spinal units, but who need long term support. In addition, point of care diagnostics developer, QuantuMDx Group Ltd – which is headquartered at Newcastle’s International Centre for Life – received an award for its partnership with the public sector. The company’s successful collaboration with Newcastle University has supported its rapid expansion and has resulted in its recruitment of over 15 Newcastle University graduates, master’s students and post docs, as well as several large grant successes.

Finally, the ceremony saw Hart Biologicals Ltd’s Keighley Campbell named Promising Technologist of the Year. Having joined Hart Biologicals Ltd in 2010 as a Research & Development Scientist, she was successful in the development of a range of coagulation reagents for use in hospital pathology laboratory testing products – these are now on sale around the world. Keighley was promoted to Research & Development Manager in 2012 and is working on product design and development that covers Hart Biologicals’ own-label products and development activities for contract manufacturing opportunities. Geoff Davison, CEO of Bionow, said: “Congratulations must go to all the winners and those shortlisted on their achievements, and for the fantastic work they are doing to further the growth of the biomedical sector in the North of England. “The entries we received for this year’s Biomedical Awards were of an extremely high standard and confirmed the region’s standing as a powerhouse in the biomedical sector.

“The winners and runners-up demonstrated just how many versatile and visionary biomedical firms we have in the North, and all of the judges were greatly impressed by their innovative approaches to research, product development and business strategy. “The biomedical sector has vast potential, and these awards showed that it has an exciting future in the North of England.” The 2014 Biomedical Awards are hosted by Bionow, the leading membership organisation for the biomedical and life sciences industry in the North of England.  With over 210 subscribing members, Bionow’s membership offer focuses upon the specific needs of firms at their different stages of development, including dedicated business support programmes, shared procurement schemes with significant cost savings, exclusive insurance benefits, recruitment and training services, local and national events and access to a vibrant network of businesses.

The North of England is one of the UK and Europe’s largest biomedical regions; 20% of the UK’s biomedical companies, employment and turnover are in the North.  Comprising of 925 life science and healthcare companies, the sector generates a turnover of £10.9bn and employs over 38,000 people. The area is home to the N8 Research Partnership, and boasts world-leading resources in terms of investment, scientific expertise, academic research, science graduates, NHS hospitals and state of the art manufacturing facilities.