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NovaBiotics: a rising star for 2009

Published on 24/02/09 at 04:01pm

Biologics company NovaBiotics has been dubbed a Rising Star for 2009 by the Scottish arm of the BioIndustry Association.

The award was presented at the BioIndustry Association's (BIA) Thistle Bioscience Forum, which aims to recognise companies that demonstrate a clear vision and ambition for development.

Dr Barbara Blaney, director of BIA Scotland, said: "With a strong presentation on their core technology platform, strategy for market and competitor awareness, as a 'clinic-ready' company, NovaBiotics was chosen unanimously by the panel as winner."

The Aberdeen-based company's lead product Novexatin is an over-the-counter topical treatment for nail fungus. The drug will soon enter clinical trials and could reach the market in September.

The company also has plans to commercialise a new class of antimicrobial peptide therapies, designed to prevent life-threatening infections that take hold when the immune system is weakened due to another disease.

They are targeted at patients in intensive therapy units who are often weakened or "immunocompromised" after chemotherapy or drugs administered following a transplant, and therefore have a significant risk of infection.

NovaBiotics was set up in 2004 by its current chief executive and scientific officer Dr Deborah O'Neil.

O'Neil is an immunologist by training with over a decade of experience in natural antimicrobials, whereas NovaBiotics chairman David Lawrence has a commercial history at companies such Acambis, GSK and Chiron.

NovaBiotics has raised near $10 million in private equity funding to date and now aims to source another $1.5m to secure the company is funded through a vital period of commercialisation of its lead product and other some consumer items.

When announcing Novabiotics for the Rising Star 2009 award, the Forum said it had a focus on business development in the current economic climate. The group indicated the company's progression was a good sign to for the future.

BIA Scotland director Dr Barbara Blaney added: "The life sciences sector has been, and can continue to be, an economic success story for Scotland. It is so encouraging to see the wealth of talent driving the industry forward."

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