Celebrating Colorado’s Life Sciences Ecosystem

The annual CBSA awards celebration highlights the spirit and drive of Colorado’s vibrant life sciences ecosystem. It brings together hundreds of leaders and innovators to applaud our successes and look ahead to the coming year.

Jennifer Jones Paton, CBSA President and CEO, announcing awardees virtually at 17th Annual Awards Celebration.

17th Annual Awards Celebration: Innovation Forward

During the pandemic, our ecosystem continued to grow and thrive. On December 9, 2020, we virtually celebrated the memorable milestones and incredible people behind Colorado’s health innovations.

2020 Award Winners

Company of the Year: Inscripta
Based in Boulder, Inscripta is developing the world’s first benchtop platform for scalable digital genome engineering. The company’s advanced CRISPR-based platform, consisting of an instrument, consumables, software, and assays, offers a fully automated workflow that enables massively parallel, trackable editing of single cells at unprecedented scale. Inscripta’s goal is to empower scientists whose gene editing research is stifled by current technical and licensing limitations. Finalists for the award were: STAQ Pharma and LightDeck Diagnostics.

Rising Star of the Year: Edgewise Therapeutics
Boulder’s Edgewise Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing orally bioavailable, small molecule therapies for musculoskeletal diseases. The company focuses on new therapies for the treatment of patients with debilitating musculoskeletal disease using uncompromising standards of scientific rigor, personal integrity, and a deep respect for those whose lives they touch. Finalists for the award were: Artisan Bio and Sana Health.

Additional honorees included:

Educator of the Year: Amanda Fitzgerald
Counselor Amanda Fitzgerald of Frederick High School works closely with students enrolled in the Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools, or P-TECH. Students in the program, many who are first-generation college students, graduate in 4-6 years with both a high school diploma and associate’s degree, ready to enter the life sciences workforce.

Institute Leadership Award: Amgen Foundation LabXchange
The Amgen Foundation supports the Institute’s LabXchange Teaching Training Program, providing an important resource for science teachers to better utilize the free Harvard-created LabXchange online learning platform in their remote, hybrid or in-person classrooms.

Volunteer of the Year: Michael Mestek, Director of Market Development at Medtronic
Mestek is a champion for life sciences workforce development with the Colorado Bioscience Institute. He is a pioneer mentor, participating since the program’s inception. In addition to mentoring more than 50 students, he continually recruits and engages Medtronic colleagues to participate at the Annual Industry Showcase.

Legislators of the Year: State Senator Dominick Moreno, (D) District 21 and State Senator Bob Rankin (R) District 8
CBSA works to build a pro-innovation environment for life-saving breakthroughs. Colorado’s more than 720 life sciences organizations create more than 32,000 high-paying jobs and make more than $3 billion in economic impact. CBSA appreciates the support of Colorado’s General Assembly and recognized Sens. Moreno and Rankin for their leadership on policy issues that support the health and growth of life sciences in Colorado.

Deal of the Year: ArcherDX and Invitae
From the inception of ArcherDX, the mission has been to create a world in which genetic information is used to practice precision oncology. The combined company will bring germline and somatic testing, liquid biopsy and tissue genomic profiling onto a single platform to transform cancer care and bring genetic information to mainstream medicine.

Impact Award: Medtronic
For nearly three decades, Medtronic employees in Colorado have been an important part of Medtronic’s global mission to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life for millions of people around the world. CBSA recognizes Medtronic’s impact on Colorado’s economy and applauds the company for its investment in a new Medtronic Colorado campus.

Business Partner of the Year: Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
OEDIT works to ensure Colorado competes on a national and international scale. It’s a powerhouse support system that runs many critical programs for life sciences and other advanced industries.  One of these programs is the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant program, a series of five advanced industry grants, designed to promote growth and sustainability in industries including life sciences. CBSA and OEDIT worked closely to preserve funding for this critical program during the 2020 legislative session.