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BioAsia 2023 Confers the Genome Valley Excellence Award upon Professor Robert S. Langer

by News Monks

The 20th edition of BioAsia – the marquee healthcare and Life Sciences event, organized by the Government of Telangana, has announced that the coveted Genome Valley Excellence Award for the year 2023 will be conferred upon Prof. Robert S. Langer, in light of his pioneering research that has led to the development of the first commercial mRNA vaccines used for variety of infectious diseases. Langer is currently the David H. Koch Institute Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. He is also being acknowledged for his exemplary research in human health, including the detection, monitoring, and treatment of cancer. A veteran in his field, his remarkable contributions to biomedical and therapeutic research include developing long-term and controlled-release drug delivery systems used for a variety of applications including cancer therapy, insulin and vaccines.


As the director of the eponymous Langer Labs, he works at the intersection of biotechnology and material science and his research helped lay foundation for the underlying delivery mechanism that led to the development of the first commercial mRNA vaccines. In 2010, he co-founded Moderna, the biotech company that came to prominence for developing an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19.


He is also prolific in the scientific community having authored more than 1,500 scientific papers, making him the most-cited engineer in history. In addition, he is also a serial entrepreneur being instrumental in starting more than 40 companies and is a recipient of numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth prize for Engineering.


A distinguished jury of eminent figures of national and international reputation have made the final selection of the awardee. Speaking on the announcement of the 2023 Genome Valley Excellence Award, Mr. KT Rama Rao, Hon’ble Minister for Industries & Commerce, Government of Telengana said, “With the Genome Valley Excellence Award, we really want to celebrate people who created an extraordinary impact within the Life Science community and there is no one who better fits the bill than Prof. Langer. BioAsia is honoured to present him with this award and celebrate his life’s work and its impact on the broader community now and for years to come.”


“Over the years, the Genome Valley Excellence Award has been presented to distinguished people whose have made vauable contributions in the field of Life sciences and Public Health. And this year is no exception. We are proud to confer this award to Professor Robert Langer whose contributions including commercializing mRNA vaccine, drug delivery systems and tissue engineering has completely transformed the future landscape. His life and work is a source of insipiration to many and is a testamant to keep going and doing what a lot of people think is impossible and unattainable,” said Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary (I&C), Government of Telengana.


“The Genome Valley Excellence award has gained immense reputation benefitting from its extraordinary recipient history and is now regarded one of the most prestigious awards. Robert ‘Bob’ Langer defines the word relentless and we are thrilled to welcome him at BioAsia 2023. A man of many hats – be it an Engineer, scientist, researcher and serial entrepreneur, he has truly made his mark and has changed the landscape of biotechnology for the generations to come. Having started and guided many companies, his entrepreneurial pursuits have been an extension of his research and unwavering commitment to serve mankind. Highlighting Prof. Langer and his work through this award should encourage the children of our community to be students of science and really see firsthand, how pursuing science can create impact and make a world of difference in the lives of many,” said Mr. Shakthi M. Nagappan, CEO, BioAsia and Director of Lifesciences and Pharma, Government of Telengana.


Some of the past Genome Valley Excellence Award winners include Nobel laureates such as Dr. Kurt Wuthrich, Ada Yonath, Harald zur Hausen, Barry Marshall, Martin J Evans, Food Laureates, Lasker Awardees, and eminent leaders like CEO of Novartis Mr. Vas Narasimhan, Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and CAR-T cell therapy pioneer , Dr. Carl June, CEO of GAVI Dr. Seth Berkley, among others. Last year, the Genome Valley Excellence award was presented to Dr. Drew Weissman, professor at the Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, for his breakthrough pioneering research and development of effective mRNA COVID-19 vaccine that has helped save billions of lives globally. In 2021, it was awarded to Padma Bhushan awardees Dr. Krishna Ella and Mrs. Suchitra Ella of Bharat Biotech International Ltd. for the development and commercialisation of vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.


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