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Not all innovative businesses begin in a garage.

They often start as biotech SMEs, and EuropaBio will reward the most innovative among them.

Brussels, 9 February 2015: While some of today’s most successful business giants may have started from luminaries experimenting in humble settings, over the years highly innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe have developed novel ways of meeting our societal, technical, and environmental problems through the application of biotechnology. EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, invites such SMEs to apply for the 6th edition of its Most Innovative European Biotech SME Award – a unique annual initiative recognising biotech innovation and its contribution to society in Europe.

The winner is…

EuropaBio would like to award companies and runners-up in 3 categories: healthcare, agricultural and industrial biotech. The diversity of European biotechnology warrants nothing less.

Who decides?

Experts who are involved in biotech and see the big picture, from the science to the funding realities to the political framework and who truly believe and understand the potential of innovation and SMEs for Europe’s future. They are:

Tom Saylor, CEO of Arecor and Chair of the EuropaBio SME Platform;

Kay Swinburne, Welsh Member of the European Parliament with a PhD in Medical Research, King’s College London, and MBA and a career in international healthcare and finance.

Philippe De Backer, Belgian Member of the European Parliament with a PhD in Biotechnology, Ghent University and a career in investment in biotech.

Jos B. Peeters, Managing Partner at Capricorn Venture Partners with a PhD in Solid State Physics from the University of Leuven and a career at Bell Telephone Manufacturing Cy, PA Technology and BeneVent Management before starting Capricorn Venture Partners in 1993;

Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio with a Bsc in Biotechnology & Biochemistry from St Andrews University and 20 years working experience with the biotech industry and institutions.

Their privilege will be to analyse each application carefully, discover incredible new science, discuss, debate and select two nominees and a winner for each of the three categories.

What is at stake for the applicants?

A €10,000 cheque plus two years free membership of EuropaBio for each winner. Extending the latter to the runners-up is only fair.

What else? A fancy awards dinner?

No, exposure. Mainly to EU media and top-level policy makers since the award ceremony will take place during the EuropaBio Benefits Event: Solutions for Europe’s Growth & Sustainability on 23 June 2015 at the European Parliament. This is a high-level event showcasing the benefits of biotech in Europe. It will include keynotes from the European Commissioners for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis and from the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, as well as elevator pitches from company CEOs and testimonials from people who have benefited from biotechnology.

Deadline to become part of the story

SMEs interested to enter the competition are invited to apply by 6 April 2015. More information and the application form can be found on the EuropaBio website

For any inquiries, please contact:

Cosmin Popa

Communications and National Associations Manager, EuropaBio

Tel.: +32 2 739 11 73+32 2 739 11 73

Mob.: +32 499 906 129+32 499 906 129


Quote from Tom Saylor, Chairman of the EuropaBio SME Platform

“Raising the profile for innovative biotech companies in Europe both collectively and individually offers the opportunity to demonstrate the enormous potential of our entrepreneurs in this sector. Finalists not only enjoy the benefits of EuropaBio membership including the most extensive network of companies in the biotech sector, but also the chance to showcase their capabilities to potential partners, investors and collaborators. Past finalists have shown that this award can provide a platform for access to resources and exposure that can contribute to ongoing success in the future.”

Why an award for biotech SMEs?

According to the European Commission, “small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe’s economy. They represent 90% of all businesses in the EU. In the past five years, they have created around 85% of new jobs and provided two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU.”1 In other words, SME matter and the leaders in innovation should be recognized and rewarded.


Biotech embodies the way in which science and scientific breakthroughs can be applied to current problems. From new therapies that can address unmet medical needs and fight epidemics and rare diseases, to industrial processes that use renewable feed stocks instead of crude oil, to drought-resistant crops that allow farmers around the world to feed more people under ever-harsher climatic conditions, biotechnology pays economic, social and environmental dividends.

About EuropaBio and its SME Platform

EuropaBio is the European Association of BioIndustries. Our members are involved in research, development, testing, manufacturing and commercialisation of biotech products and processes in human and animal healthcare, diagnostics, bioinformatics, chemicals, crop protection, agriculture, food and environmental products and services. EuropaBio also counts a number of National Biotech Associations in its membership who in turn represent more than 1800 biotech SMEs.

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.


From leader to laggard: Europe behind all other continents on Genetically Modified crops

Brussels, 28 January 2015 – “Europe was the cradle of GM invention but now risks becoming the world’s farming museum: we are lagging behind all other continents when it comes to GM crop cultivation, because our farmers are still being denied the freedom to choose which safe products to grow while EU researchers face protests and destruction of field trials”, said Beat Späth, Director of Agricultural Biotechnology at EuropaBio, commenting on the new annual report by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA).

In 2014, GM cultivation in the EU decreased slightly mainly due to limited choice for farmers in the EU caused by a lack of product authorizations as well as to legally questionable and scientifically untenable national bans. Farmers in five EU countries (Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania) planted 143,016 hectares of insect resistant biotech maize, which is still less than 1% of global GM crop production.

GMOs are already in our daily lives, as Europe benefits from this key enabling technology mainly indirectly through imports. “We pay with GM cotton bank notes and wear GM cotton clothes, and each year our farm animals eat an amount of GM soybeans roughly equivalent to the combined weight of all EU citizens, greatly reducing our environmental footprint and helping farmers achieve a better living”, added Späth.

Although 48 GM crops are already approved for import, the Commission has put further authorisations on hold, which is bad news for livestock farmers, given Europe’s import dependency on GM soybeans as the main protein source for farm animals. The biotech industry firmly believes that halting approvals and thus failing to support the EU’s own best science is the single most damaging element for growth, innovation, investment as well as consumer confidence and safety.

According to figures released today by ISAAA, in 2014, 18 million farmers planted 181.5 million hectares of biotech crops in 28 countries, up from 175.2 million hectares in 27 countries in 2013. For comparison, these are more farmers than all EU farmers (ca 12 million), and they grow GMOs on an area much larger than the entire EU arable land (ca. 104 million hectares).

EuropaBio Press Release – Europe from leader to laggard on GM crops

About EuropaBio

EuropaBio is the European Association for Bioindustries representing members involved in research, development, testing, manufacturing and commercialisation of biotechnology products and processes in the fields of human and animal health care, diagnostics, bio-informatics, chemicals, crop protection, agriculture, food and environmental products and services. EuropaBio also represents a number of national biotechnology associations in Europe who in turn represent more than 1800 biotech SMEs.  EuropaBio’s aim is to promote an innovative and dynamic biotechnology-based industry in Europe.

For further information, please contact:

Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio

Tel: +32 2 739 11 71+32 2 739 11 71