'Technology Pioneers' elected to World Economic Forum

By Mike Nagle

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dna

The World Economic Forum has announced this year's 'Technology
Pioneers', firms which have developed a life-changing technology
innovation that has the potential for long-term impact on both
business and society.

The 39 winners will now be invited to participate in World Economic Forum activities, including its annual conferences, for two years. The awards are divided into three categories: Biotechnology and Health; Energy and Environment; and Information Technology (IT). "We are extremely pleased to have a community that is using innovation and technology to dramatically affect the way society and business operate and doing so in a markedly collaborative manner,"​ said Peter Torreele, managing director of the World Economic Forum. Technology may be moving faster than ever, but only the most visionary innovators are given the coveted status of Technology Pioneer. Previous winners include household names such as Google, Mozilla Corporation and Napster. Among this cream of the crop are twelve biotech or health companies. In fact, one of the biotech companies highlighted this year, 23andMe, is a firm that first came to the world's attention when Google invested $3.9m (€2.64m) in it. It is a web-based service company that helps you read and understand your own DNA - its name refers to the 23 chromosomes that make up the human genome. Resverlogix were also honoured for their work in developing novel therapies for unmet medical markets, primarily cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer and fibrotic conditions. Nanotechnology was also given a pat on the back through an award for RainDance Technologies. It develops devices to precisely manipulate minute amounts of liquids in microfluidics devices. After CuraGen and 454 life Sciences, it's the third New Haven-area bioscience company started by its chairman, Jonathan Rothberg. Pharma manufacturing also got in on the act after Rincon Pharmaceuticals were elected. The US firm uses eukaryotic algae as a production system for recombinant proteins. Also among the winners is MondoBiotech, a Swiss firm dedicated to finding and developing peptides to treat rare diseases. The remaining firms that complete the Biotech and Health category are: robotic radiosurgery firm Accuray; reproductive technology specialists Anecova; InSightec, an Israeli firms developing focussed ultrasound surgery techniques; NuLens; Oxitec; SiGNa Chemistry; and last but not least, Neurosynaptic Communications, which developed a diagnostic kit that can be used remotely before a 'teleconsulation'. "By partnering with the best brains and the smartest ideas in the world, organizations can deliver innovation at the speed of their customers' lives,"​ said Matt Bross, Group Chief Technology Officer at BT, which helped choose the winners. "The Technology Pioneers 2008 will make great innovation partners for any organization that chooses to do business with them,"​ he concluded. The entire list of Technology Pioneers and interviews with their CEOs can be found here: http://www.weforum.org/techpioneers/2008​.

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