World-leading Biomedical Engineer, Dr Robert Langer, Receives Economist Innovation Award for Bioscience Sponsored by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.

By Astellas Pharma, PRNE
Thursday, October 20, 2011

STAINES, England, October 21, 2011 -

?Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. today presented The Economist Innovation 2011 award for Bioscience to one of the world’s most influential biomedical engineers, Dr Robert Langer – the man responsible for founding the field of controlled-release drug delivery and tissue engineering.

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This year marked the 10th anniversary of The Economists Innovation Awards which recognise individuals whose ideas have changed the world we live in. At the awards ceremony, which took place on 20th October 2011 at the Science Museum in London, Dr Langer was presented with the Bioscience Award in recognition of his contributions to medicine and biotechnology by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd., the European subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc., one of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies,

Dr. Langer has pioneered technologies including transdermal delivery systems which allow non-invasive administration of drugs, and the development of polymers on which cells are grown to create replacement tissue or organs - used to ‘grow’ skin for burns victims. He has more than 800 issued and pending patents worldwide, licensed or sublicensed to more than 220 pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology and medical device companies.  As the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr Langer heads one of the largest biomedical engineering laboratories in the world, employing over 100 researchers.

Commenting on important advances in bioscience over the last decade, Dr Robert Langer, winner of the Economist Innovation Award for Bioscience, said:

“In the past decade, there have been many important advances. In my area, one of these is the development of IPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells. Over the next decade - again in my area - I hope to see more clinical implementation of tissue engineering and nanotechnology.”

Commenting on the Award, Ken Jones, President and CEO of Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. said: “Robert Langer has made an extraordinary contribution to the field of biomedical engineering and has been responsible for true breakthroughs in the global quest to discover better ways to manage diseases. It is innovative discoveries like these which enable pharmaceutical companies such as Astellas to make real progress in “Changing tomorrow*” for patients by developing effective therapies to address urgent unmet medical needs. We place innovation at the heart of our business and, in addition to investing around 20% of global sales in research and development, we are committed to supporting medical research and education. We are delighted that The Economist Innovation Awards judges have chosen to honour a distinguished and significant scientist who has contributed so much to this field.”

Speaking on behalf of the 29 judges for the 2011 Economist Innovation Awards, Tom Standage, Digital Editor at The Economist said: “Robert Langer is one of the most innovative and influential biomedical engineers of our time. His proven successes in drug-delivery and tissue engineering have made possible new forms of medication and treatment. He is a worthy recipient of our bioscience award.”

The Economist Innovation Awards are recognised worldwide as the most influential programme in its field.


About Changing tomorrow[TM]:

Changing tomorrow is a trademark of Astellas Pharma Inc. The campaign embodies Astellas’ ethos of creating a brighter future for all the Company’s stakeholders - above all for patients.

Astellas’ support for medical research and education

As part of its ethos of CHANGING TOMORROW[TM], Astellas is committed to supporting medical research and education. The Astellas European Foundation is a registered charity established with funding from Astellas Pharma Inc. The goal of the Foundation is to provide support for programmes and activities that contribute to the advancement of an increasingly healthy society.

About Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.:

Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd., located in the UK, is a European subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceuticals. The organisation is committed to becoming a global company by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities and continuing to grow in the world pharmaceutical market. Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. is responsible for 21 affiliate offices located across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, an R&D site and three manufacturing plants. The company employs approximately 4,000 staff across these regions.  For more information about Astellas Pharma Europe, please visit


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