A Birmingham bioscience company yesterday won its second major award in two months.
The Binding Site, a medical research specialist, was named November winner of The Birmingham Post Business Award. Last month the fast-growing company became the lastest in the region to receive the Queen's Award for Enterprise.
Based in King's Heath, the company is a global leader in the development of immunodiagnostic kits for use in laboratories.
It won the Queen's Award for the development of Freelite, a new assay - or blood test - for the diagnosis and monitoring of multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer.
Launched in 2000, Freelite is used in hospital laboratories worldwide to help diagnose multiple myeloma and monitor the effectiveness of treatment in chemotherapy patients.
The product has contributed to huge strides made in tackling a illness considered almost untreatable 20 years ago.
Previous diagnostic methods were not always as sensitive as Freelite, which allows doctors to use a simple blood test to monitor patients.
In rare forms of the disease, Freelite monitoring is the only way of assessing whether a patient is responding to therapy.
With about 1.5 million Freelite tests every year, sales of the product are growing and it has long-term growth potential.
The patented technology used to develop the test is being applied to other potential markers of disease and disease progression.
Future projects are under development which will enhance the role these types of assays can play in diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Headed by Professor Jo Bradwell, The Binding Site was founded in 1983 by researchers at the Medical School of Birmingham University to develop innovative ways of producing antibodies. With a desire to continue this early work but lacking the required government funding they founded a private company to take the research forward and uti-lise any commercial benefits.
Today, the company has three main areas of activity: autoimmune disease diagnosis; antibody-based products and Freelite.
It employs more than 430 in the UK - 320 in Birmingham - the US and Europe and turnover for the year to September 30 is estimated at £31 million.
Finance director Trevor Sykes said yesterday the business was growing at about 25 per cent a year compared with five or six per cent for the sector.
"We are very much a growth track and this will continue for a few years. We are now one of the biggest independent companies in the sector."
The Binding Post received the Post Business Award at a lunch hosted by Aston Villa FC yesterday.
David Smith, managing director of Churchill Vintners and chairman of the independing judging panel, said the award was recogition of the "sterling work the company is doing in medical research".
The main sponsors of The Birmingham Post Business Awards are Intercity Mobile Communications and Churchill Vintners with Champagne Taittinger.
Flybe and Aston Business School provide support, along with Biz-tv, part of Aston Media at Aston University, which produces a business video of each monthly winner worth £2,500. And Warwickshire County Cricket Club provides a private box for a day/night game.
Yorkshire Bank sponsors the end of series presentation event and also provides its city centre meeting facilities as a prize for the overall winner.
Visit our website for more on the Birmingham Post Business Awards - www.icbirmingham.co.uk/postbizawards.