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The Economistís Innovation Award for Bioscience given to J. Craig Venter Ph.D., for contributions to genomic research

12Oct2009

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Anna-Louise Maloney
The Economist
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Ph: +44 20 7576 8378

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Hayley Raffill
Waggener Edstrom Worldwide
E: hrafill@waggeneredstrom.com
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Core Facts

Winner’s genomic research recognised as potential to revolutionise personal medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels Come and meet Dr Venter, president of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI)(www.jcvi.org), as he accepts an award at The Economist’s Innovation Awards Ceremony in London on October 29th.  

  • Following the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), scientific research has evolved from understanding how to decode and map genomes to seek ways of building synthetic genomes from scratch.  
  • J. Craig Venter has been at the forefront of this research for almost two decades and currently leads organisations dedicated to human, microbial, plant, synthetic, and environmental genomic research. Through his discoveries, Venter has opened up the scientific research of the microbial world and how it affects humans. Many scientists predict that these discoveries may revolutionise personal medicine, pharmaceuticals and biofuels in coming years. Examples include individualised genomic medicine; new vaccines and treatments for worldwide health threats; and new ways to develop biologically-driven sources of energy. 
  • More recently, Synthetic Genomics, a biotechnology company founded by Venter, announced an investment of US$600m by ExxonMobil to produce fuels from algae—organisms in water that range from pond scum to seaweed.  
  • The Economist looks forward to presenting this year’s Bioscience Innovation Award to J. Craig Venter, along with the other 2009 Award Winners, at this year’s award ceremony, held at the London’s Science museum on October 29th. The Innovation summit follows the day after, at the Dorchester Hotel—a unique event focusing on the interface between innovation and business, where this year’s winners will discuss how their innovative ideas became reality. 
  • The Economist’s Eighth Annual Innovation Summit provides an opportunity for delegates to meet the greatest thinkers and doers of this world in an inspirational setting, take away content relevant to their business and hear from the 2009 Innovation Award winners. The full programme includes speakers such as Dr Joseph Adelegan, President of Green Globe Trust Founder and Cows to Kilowatts Partnership, who is campaigning on issues of eco-efficiency, climate change, and eco-solutions and renewable energy in Africa. Dr Adelegan will be joined by Dr Sergio Kapusta, Chief Scientist-Materials at Shell, who will be talking about the company’s work to help safely recover more of the world’s oil and gas from existing fields using some of the most innovative structures in energy exploration. 
  • Journalists may request interviews and a place at The Economist’s Eighth Annual Innovation Awards Ceremony (29th) at the Science Museum and Summit (30th) at The Dorchester by contacting the press team at Waggener Edstrom on + 44 207 632 3900 or e-mail ecis@waggeneredstrom.com.

Quotes

Winner’s quote: J. Craig Venter Ph.D., president of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) (www.jcvi.org)
“We are now in a world 100% dependent on scientific innovation. Innovation is the key driver for success, especially in challenging economic times. In my area of genomic science innovation comes from pondering the greatest societal issues and seeking new ways to apply this science to help solve world issues. As an example, my team and I are leveraging synthetic genomic advances to address human health through human genomics and the environmental and energy crisis through development of new, next generation biofuels” 

Judge’s quote: Rodney A. Ferguson, Ph.D, managing director, Panorama Capital(http://panoramacapital.com/)
“At the dawn of the 21st Century, President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair hosted a ceremony at the White House to honour the two men who led the race to sequence the entire human genome, Dr J. Craig Venter, founder of Celera Genomics, and Dr Francis Collins of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Dr Venter’s privately-funded effort created new technical approaches to this great scientific challenge and spurred the competing government consortium to complete its work years ahead of plan. The genetic information resulting from the Human Genome Project has opened up new avenues of biomedical research that will have a positive impact on human health and wellness for generations. The Economist’s Innovation Award in Bioscience recognises breakthrough technological advances with tremendous impact on markets and emerging branches of science. It is hard to imagine a more deserving winner of this award than Dr Venter” 

Sponsor’s quote: Chris Talago, Executive Vice-president and General Manager – EMEA, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide(www.waggeneredstrom.co.uk)
“J. Craig Venter’s contribution to genomic research demonstrates that innovation in that field on the micro-level can lead to wider macro-scale applications such as producing new biofuels and biochemicals, indicating the breadth of world-changing results that innovation can bring. At Waggener Edstrom innovation underpins all our communications programmes, ensuring we deliver meaningful results for our clients across all sectors and communications channels. Congratulations to J Craig Venter on winning this Waggener Edstrom-sponsored award for innovation.”

Boilerplate Statements

Tom Standage, The Economist’s Business Affairs Editor, talks about J. Craig Venter’s winning entry: http://www.economistconferences.co.uk/innovation/bioscienceaward 

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About The Economist / The Economist Innovation Awards
This press release has been sent by Waggener Edstrom on behalf of The Economist’s Innovation Awards.  Want more from The Economist

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About The Economist (www.economist.com)
The Economist is published each Friday in the UK and is available from newsagents and on subscription. With four million readers from almost every country on the planet, and editorial offices on every continent, The Economist is truly a global publication. The paper includes sections on each international region, plus Science and Technology, Books and Arts, and the weekly obituary. For profiles of our journalists, please visit www.economist.com/mediadirectory/ About The Economist Innovation Awards (www.economistinnovation.com)

The Economist was established in 1843 to take part in a "severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress". One of the chief ways in which intelligence presses forward is through innovation, which is now recognised as one of the most important contributors to economic growth. Innovation, in turn, depends on the creative individuals who dream up new ideas and turn them into reality. The Economist recognises these talented individuals through our annual Innovation Awards.

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