Washington, D.C. – March 7, 2011 – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced today that it is accepting nominations for the third annual Biotech Humanitarian Award. The Award will be given to an individual who, through their work in or support of biotechnology, is harnessing its potential to heal, fuel or feed the planet.
“When you consider the most significant problems facing our world today, such as health, the environment and our food supply, it is clear that biotechnology is uniquely positioned to uncover ground-breaking solutions,” said BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. “The Biotech Humanitarian Award offers us the opportunity to highlight our biotech innovators – the men and women who are pioneering real solutions to improve people’s lives and the health of our planet.”
The Humanitarian Award honors work that aims to reduce human suffering significantly or enhance the human experience in a way that has a clear and direct benefit to society. Additional consideration will be given to approaches that are at a turning point and may potentially have immeasurable influence.
Last year’s Award was bestowed upon Robert Klein, chairman of the governing board of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Klein is best known as the author and Chairman of California’s Proposition 71, the $6 billion “California Stem Cell Research and Cures” ballot initiative, which supports research with a focus on pluripotent (embryonic) and progenitor stem cell research. As chairman of CIRM, Klein manages the peer review and grant process for the $3 billion in stem cell research funding authorized by the Initiative.
The inaugural Award was bestowed upon Dr. Jay Keasling, CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at the University of California at Berkley and acting Deputy Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Keasling was honored for his break-through work in synthetic biology, which at commercial scale, will allow for lower cost access to first-line treatment for malaria, as well as significantly advance production of the next generation of biofuels. Keasling has previously said that he expects the new malaria treatment to be released at the end of 2011 or in early 2012.
“Many people get into the biosciences because they want to change the world, and through the Biotech Humanitarian Award, our industry can acknowledge an individual whose work is doing just that. This Award underscores the dramatic impact biotechnology has on our everyday lives, from our health to the food we eat to our environment,” said Stephen A. Sherwin, M.D., Chairman of the BIO Board of Directors and Co-founder and Chairman, Board of Directors, Ceregene, Inc.
The Award and a prize of $10,000 will be presented at the 2011 BIO International Convention, in Washington, DC on June 27-30, 2011. Nominations are open to all individuals and can be accessed via http://biotech-now.org/humanitarian-award-nomination. Nominees will be evaluated and judged on the following criteria: Impact on future generations; Impact on contemporary society; Contribution to the field of biotechnology; and Level of innovation exhibited.
Qualified nominees for the Biotech Humanitarian Award will be professionals in the biotechnology field including scientists, researchers, academics, entrepreneurs, financiers, philanthropists, educators, advocates and others who have added value to society through their pursuit of biotechnology processes.
BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.