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2012 Delaware Bio Annual Awards Gala

Thanks to all who helped make the Delaware Bio 2012 Annual Awards Gala the best ever!

Delaware Bio hosted its 2012 Annual Awards Gala on April 16 at the DuPont Country Club. Over 300 academic, government, and industry leaders gathered on a balmy, summerlike evening to celebrate the achievements of Delaware-based Incyte Corporation and three individuals who have made significant contributions to our state's bioscience community.

Attendees enjoyed networking and socializing in VIP and cocktail receptions made even more festive by the gracious environs and outstanding weather. Delaware Bio President Bob Dayton then welcomed guests with opening remarks that set the tone for the evening, noting the exceptional collegiality and creativity that are the hallmarks of Delaware's diverse bioscience community. Mr. Dayton also recognized the state legislators in attendance: Rep. Joseph E. Miro, District 22-Pike Creek Valley; Rep. Daryl M. Scott, District 31-Dover; Sen. Brian J. Bushweller, District 17-Kent Central; and Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, District 2-Wilmington Central.

The Gala's first award, for Academic Research, was presented by Brian A. Pryor, President, LiteCure LLC, to Noureddine Melikechi, D.Phil., Dean, College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, Delaware State University. Dr. Melikechi was honored for his work in applied optics and laser spectroscopy, which has resulted in the first transfer of technology from DSU to private industry and also led to his unofficial title as "Delaware's ambassador to Mars."

The Innovation Award was then presented to Charles W. Robertson, Jr., Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of the former NanoDrop Technologies, Inc. Mr. Robertson's invention, the NanoDrop (TM) Spectrophotometer, is a "must-have" instrument in labs around the world. ThermoFisher acquired NanoDrop in 2007 and continues to manufacture the NanoDrop family of instrumentation used in numerous research and manufacturing applications. The Innovation Award was presented by Lynne Kielhorn, Co-founder of NanoDrop.

On behalf of the State of Delaware's House of Representatives, Rep. Joseph E. Miro officially recognized Incyte Corporation and its President and CEO, Paul A. Friedman, as well as award-winners Charles W. Robertson, Jr. and J. Michael Bowman. Rep. Daryl M. Scott officially recognized Dr. Melikechi for his accomplishments.

After dinner, Kelvin H. Lee, Ph.D, Director, Delaware Biotechnology Institute shared with everyone the success of the Bioscience CAT program, put into place by the state to fund industry/academia collaborations. Dr. Lee introduced featured speaker Alan B. Levin, Secretary, Delaware Economic Development Office. Mr. Levin, resplendent in a temperature-appropriate khaki suit, emphasized the importance of bioscience to Delaware's economy and stressed the commitment of Gov. Jack Markell and his administration to making Delaware an attractive, supportive environment for enterprises engaged in bioscience activities.

David S. Weir, Director, Office of Economic Innovation & Partnerships, University of Delaware, presented the Service Award to J. Michael Bowman, Chairman and President, Delaware Technology Park. Mr. Bowman leads the nonprofit, research-based technology park, which provides bioscience companies with access to critical physical infrastructure and business resources, and has been a tireless contributor to and supporter of the technology sector in Delaware.

U.S. Sen. Christopher A. Coons, fresh off the train from Washington, D.C., spoke briefly but passionately about the importance of Delaware's bioscience community not only to the state, but also to the region, and praised the high level of regional collaboration and interaction among bioscience enterprises. Sen. Coons noted the commitment of the Delaware congressional delegation in supporting bioscience activities in the state and region through intellectual property and tax legislation, among other measures.

The final award of the evening was presented by special guest Sen. Thomas R. Carper, who, along with Sen. Coons, arrived in the nick of time. In his remarks, Sen. Carper noted the success Delaware has had in nurturing biotechnology and bioscience, attributing it in part to the state's small size and favorable business environment. Sen. Carper then presented the Company of the Year Award to Incyte Corporation. The award was accepted by President and CEO Paul A. Friedman, M.D.

Incyte's Jakafi (TM) is the first and only FDA-approved treatment for intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis, a potentially life-threatening blood cancer. In his remarks, Dr. Friedman noted that "the drug approved is novel, first in a class, and first for the disease." He also mentioned that much of the development and testing of Jakafi took place in a 7-year time period, which is relatively short in the pharmaceutical industry. He noted the role of the Delaware bioscience community in helping Incyte find suitable laboratory and office facilities to develop and commercialize the drug.

The 2012 Delaware Bio Annual Awards Gala was made possible through generous sponsorships from VWR Scientific, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Fish & Richardson, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Conner Strong & Buckelew, RatnerPrestia, McCarter & English, Black Stallion Machine Works, and Armor Graphics.

Thank you very much for your support!

Generously Sponsored by:

VWR    BIO    PhRMA    AstraZeneca   

Fish & Richardson    Conner Strong & Buckelew    RatnerPrestia    McCarter & English    Black Stallion Machine Works    Armor Graphics

Photos by Eric Crossan