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The winner of this award will be the company or organisation which has achieved the most significant breakthrough during the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.
This breakthrough could be a new discovery, departure or breakthrough in technology, a significant positive change in its financial position, or other breakthrough which has added significantly to the company’s or organisation’s fortunes.
Amryt Pharma plc
Amryt is a biopharmaceutical company comprising a growing commercial business, combined with a significant development pipeline.
In May 2019, Amryt announced its acquisition of US-based Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, resulting in its rapid transformation from a one-product company to a global player in rare and orphan diseases with two commercialised products, a US salesforce and extended market reach. Amryt also successfully raised £60m in new equity from new and existing investors.
The Voting Panel commented on the complexity of the Aegerion deal and noted that Amryt had subsequently broken the biotech mould; the transformational effect of the deal can be seen across the group’s significant growth in market cap from c.£34m to c.£152m in the period
Genmab is an international, dual-listed biotech company. The group’s ultimate goal is to transform cancer treatment with its own products and have a pipeline of knock-your-socks-off antibodies.
Genmab celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019, which was a momentous year for the company with breakthroughs achieved in all areas of its business. The group advanced its innovative pipeline through a variety of new strategic partnerships, including an exclusive worldwide license and option agreement with Janssen.
Genmab’s partnered products also made significant progress, receiving multiple regulatory submissions and approvals, including DARZALEX, which is approaching triple-blockbuster status for use in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.
Novacyt is an AIM-listed international diagnostics business generating an increasing portfolio of in vitro and molecular diagnostic tests.
In January 2020, Novacyt commenced the development of a new test in response to the emerging COVID-19 threat. The group’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, developed by its subsidiary Primerdesign, was first launched as a research-only test at the end of January, and received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA in mid-February.
It was noted by the Voting Panel that Novacyt has experienced unprecedented global demand for its test and is supplying more than 100 countries worldwide. The group significantly increased its manufacturing capacity and now has eight manufacturing sites capable of producing COVID-19 tests at a rate of more than ten million tests per month. Sales, orders and commitments to purchase the test since initial launch have significantly exceeded expectations and will be financially transformational for the business.
Silence Therapeutics plc
Silence Therapeutics is a specialist in RNA (ribonucleic acid) therapies, which is a clinical approach that aims to stifle (or ‘silence’) the production of disease-causing proteins in the body.
The Voting Panel commented that the period under review has been transformational for the group which secured multiple high value research and collaboration agreements, namely with AstraZeneca, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Takeda.
Shares in Silence Therapeutics soared in March 2020 after the group announced its most recent deal with AstraZeneca, which was worth $80m in addition to a further $400m in milestone payments and royalties. The collaboration covers potential therapies for cardiovascular, kidney, metabolic, and respiratory disorders and is further validation of Silence Therapeutics propriety RNAi platform.