Innovation awards for promising biotechnology

The Council of German BioRegions (AK BioRegio) has presented the annual Innovation Prize of German BioRegions to some of the country's most promising concepts in biotech research. In 2019, the jury used an interactive format in reaching its decision for the first time in the 12-year history of the award. The winners received their honors at the German Biotechnology Days in Würzburg in April.

Researcher in laboratory
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Each of the three winners, Norden Vaccines of the Technical University of Braunschweig, alphaSEPT of Garching, and BlueLab Wasseranalysesysteme GmbH of Tübingen, received EUR 2000 in prize money. The new Audience Award of EUR 500 was won by alphaSEPT as well.

AlphaSEPT was recognized for applying immunoengineering to treat sepsis. The new concept balances out the initial immune reaction to sepsis while at the same time maintaining immune competence.

Norden Vaccines won its award with a new vaccine that uses the body's immune reaction to prevent ticks from sucking blood effectively and transmitting pathogens. Last year, Norden received funding for its project from the Federal Ministry of Education and Technology's (BMBF) GO-Bio-Program.

BlueLab's innovation automates the testing of drinking water for legionella bacteria. The system detects legionella through FITC-conjugated antibodies and can be used on site and integrated into other digital systems.

German BioRegions' Council spokesman Hinrich Habeck said, "As a jury, we were impressed by how mature the projects were so early in their development. It was clear from the pitch presentations that the next steps through to the project stage could already be shown. The Innovation Prize gives these promising projects a forum and proves at the same time the enormous potential of the biotechnology sector in Germany.

AK BioRegio is the central network of regional initiatives to promote industrial use of modern biotechnology. This year's competition was organized by BioRiver – Life Science im Rheinland e.V. of Düsseldorf and the InfectoGnostics Forschungscampus Jena e.V. of Jena.

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