The 20th edition of BioAsia, the marquee healthcare and life sciences event, organised by the Telangana Government, on Tuesday announced that the coveted Genome Valley Excellence Award for 2023 will be conferred upon Prof Robert S. Langer for 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, the organisers said on Tuesday.
As the director of the eponymous Langer Labs, he works at the intersection of biotechnology and material science and his research helped lay the 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.
“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,” said Telangana’s minister for industries K.T. Rama Rao.
“We are proud to confer this award to Professor Robert Langer whose contributions including commercialising mRNA vaccine, drug delivery systems and tissue engineering has completely transformed the future landscape. His life and work is a source of inspiration to many and is a testamant to keep going and doing what a lot of people think is impossible and unattainable,” said Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary (I&C), Telangana Government.
“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 Shakthi M. Nagappan, CEO, BioAsia and Director of Life Sciences and Pharma, Telangana Government.