Incyte Honored as DelawareBio's Company of Year
Developed new blood-cancer drug
11:40 PM, Apr. 16, 2012
Incyte Corp., a startup that has developed the first drug to treat a life-threatening blood cancer, took top honors Monday night as DelawareBio's 2012 Company of the Year.
The Alapocas-based drugmaker joined three other innovators honored at the sold-out annual awards gala inside the opulent DuPont Country Club. On a night that also bestowed country club weather, honorees were cited for exemplary work in the bioscience industry and for "making a difference," in Delaware."We are honored," said Incyte Chief Executive Officer Paul A. Friedman. "We have had a good year. We had a drug approved and that doesn't happen that often in our business. ... The really nice aspect to it is that the drug approved is novel, first in a class and first for the disease (myelofibrosis)."
In November, Incyte, which was founded and led by former DuPont employees, received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Jakafi -- the first drug approved for myelofibrosis. Roughly 18,000 people at any given time suffer from the disease, Friedman said. Jakafi is the company's first drug to hit the market and it was developed at DuPont's Experimental Station, where Incyte leases a laboratory and offices.
"Incyte has quickly made its mark in Delaware and the region and over the last 10 years has reached a major milestone, its first FDA-approved drug," said DelawareBio President Bob Dayton.
Jakafi could scoop up more than $1 billion in annual sales by the latter part of this decade, according to analysts.Incyte has about 300 employees and a sales force of 60. It also has boosted its research operations, adding a handful of chemists and biologists.
Also winning awards at the reception:
» Charles W. Robertson Jr., who accepted the Innovation award. He is an inventor, co-founder and chief technology officer at NanoDrop Technologies Inc., which manufactures instrumentation for testing biological samples used in research, academics, bio-manufacturing, drug discovery and genomics.
» Noureddine Melikechi, winning the Academic Research award for his work as dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, optics and laser spectroscopy at Delaware State University.
Melikechi is credited as the founder and director of DSU's first Applied Optics Center, which opened in 1997, and its first Center for Research and Education in Optical Science and Applications in 2006.
» J. Michael Bowman, chairman and president of Delaware Technology Park, received the Service award.
Bowman, a board member on five "early stage companies," leads the nonprofit research-based technology park, which provides bioscience and biotechnology companies with access to the business connections and resources needed to drive success.
Written by Cori Anne Natoli--The News Journal