WASHINGTON & SAN FRANCISCO -- The Biotechnology Industry Organization announces the creation of the Biotech Humanitarian Award, to be given to an individual in the field of biotechnology who has enhanced the human experience by harnessing the power of biotechnology to heal, feed or fuel the planet.

"So many people become involved in biotechnology because they want to help others, by working to discover a cure for a rare or serious disease or to address challenges as diverse as global warming and agricultural sustainability," said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO. "This award celebrates the accomplishments of the real-life heroes behind the science of biotechnology."

The Biotech Humanitarian Award will recognize individuals behind tangible improvements in the area of therapeutics, food and agriculture or industrial and environmental applications. The inaugural award and a prize of $10,000 will be presented in May at the annual BIO International Convention, and the five finalists will be recognized as well. The 2009 BIO International Convention runs May 18-21 in Atlanta.

"Biotechnology is responsible for a tremendous number of medical, industrial and agricultural advances, but these accomplishments - which form the backbone of everyday life -- too often happen out of the spotlight. Through the Biotech Humanitarian Award, our innovative industry will recognize the top contributions that have improved contemporary society," said Dr. Joshua Boger, Chairman of BIO's Board of Directors and President and CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated.

Nominations are open to all individuals and can be accessed via iambiotech.org. Nominees must have achieved one of the following: produced new applications, significantly advanced biotech applications or made available tangible, applicable results in the food and agriculture, industrial and environmental, or therapeutic sectors.

Qualified nominees for the Biotech Humanitarian Award will be professionals in the biotechnology field including scientists, researchers, academics, entrepreneurs, financiers, philanthropists, educators, advocates and others who have added value to society through their pursuit of biotechnology processes.

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world's largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.

SOURCE: Biotechnology Industry Organization via Business Wire.