Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Both the Cancer Genomics Centre (CGC) and the Centre for Medical Systems biology (CMSB) are the winners of the annual Valorisation Award by the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI). The prize money of €1 million was presented by Onno van de Stolpe (CEO Galápagos and member of the NGI Supervisory Board) during the Life Sciences Momentum held on 23 November 2010.
The jury was struck by the complementary approach taken by the centres with each concentrating on different critical elements essential in the establishment and growth of spin-off companies. Both centres showed equally impressive results, including a range of companies from those specializing in the provision of services to those dedicated to the development of human therapeutics and diagnostics.
In the recent years, despite the difficult climate for new company creation globally in the life sciences, both centres have continued their support of spin-offs through markedly different approaches. With the CGC, the jury noted the extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit of the researchers which drives the creation of spin-offs. The distinguishing feature of the CMSB is the support systems provided by LURIS for researchers.
The jury recognised the critical importance of each approach and therefore decided to award the prize to both centres.
Excellence in spin-off creation
The NGI Valorisation Award stimulates the transfer of scientific knowledge to industry and society. This year, the award was reserved in particular for the Genomic Centre that performed best in the 'Excellence in establishment and growth of spin-off companies'.
The NGI Valorisation Advisory Board of NGI decides which Centre deserve the annual Award. This advisory council, chaired by Rudy Dekeyser, Managing Director of the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology, also includes Angus Livingstone (University of British Colombia), David Owen (ex-Medical Research Council Technology), Clemens van Blitterswijk (University of Twente) and René Kuijten (Life Sciences Partners).
NGI stimulates valorisation in various ways
The Valorisation Award is just one of the ways in which NGI seeks to advance valorisation. While recognising the value of excellent research and new technologies, NGI regards research as the means to an end. The ultimate goal is to achieve tangible results for society at large. Being able to effectively evaluate the results of scientific research at an early stage is a key factor in translating these results into successful applications. Moreover, the necessary resources and expertise must be committed early on. NGI has invested a total of €32 million in its own valorisation programme. A significant share of this is reserved for supporting spin-offs in the life sciences. A complete start-up support package has been created for this purpose. For further information, see www.lifesciencesatwork.nl