At a gala celebration in Toronto on 29 September 2022, NMIN Founding Director Dr. Pieter Cullis was announced as the winner of the 2022 Bloom Burton Award.
“We are honoured to recognize Pieter Cullis with the award,” said Jolyon Burton, President of Bloom Burton & Co., a firm dedicated to accelerating returns in the healthcare sector for both investors and companies.
“Pieter’s determination to understand, formulate and commercialize lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) helped everyone beat back a global pandemic in record time, saving millions of lives, and also having a multitude of other, dramatic therapeutic impacts and advancements.”
The annual Bloom Burton Award honours the individual considered to have made the greatest contribution to Canada’s innovative healthcare industry in the previous year. The winner is chosen by a panel of respected international leaders in healthcare investment, entrepreneurship and journalism. Other 2022 finalists for the award were Frank Baylis and Kris Shah of Baylis Medical Technologies, and Jan Skvarka, formerly of Trillium Therapeutics.
Dr. Cullis was recognized by this award for his development of lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery systems for molecular therapeutics at Acuitas Therapeutics, a company he spun out of his lab at UBC. This delivery system helped accelerate mRNA vaccine development, including the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine “that changed the course of the pandemic for billions of people,” as the Bloom Burton press release states.
Acuitas Therapeutics is also being named Life Sciences Company of the Year for 2022, having won the Global Impact Award in 2021.
Dr. Cullis, jointly with other international colleagues who were instrumental to the development of mRNA vaccines, has already accumulated a wealth of honours for his contribution, including the Tang Prize, the 2021 Prince Mahidol Award, the inaugural VinFuture Grand Prize, and the 2022 Canada Gairdner International Award.
For more on global recognition for the role of LNPs in COVID-19 vaccines, and for Dr. Cullis’s role in developing this technology, see previous NMIN reporting on this topic.