WARREN, N.J. and VATICAN CITY, May 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Robert J. Hariri, Founder and CEO of Celularity, has been awarded with the 2018 Pontifical Key Innovation Award by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture and the Cura Foundation. The award was announced on Friday, April 27 during Unite to Cure: The Fourth International Vatican Conference in Vatican City.
The prestigious award was presented by His Eminence Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Dr. Robin Smith, President of the Cura Foundation. The award recognizes innovators in medicine who change the course of history and reduce suffering on a global scale by blending visionary thinking with real action.
"Dr. Hariri is a visionary who pushes the boundaries of what many claim to be realistic or sensible. He identifies bright spots where others only see obstacles. He has led the regenerative medicine revolution, raising awareness, capital and interest in the flourishing field," said Dr. Robin Smith, President of the Cura Foundation.
Cardinal Ravasi and Dr. Smith were joined by 15-year-old Quentin Murray to present the award, who at age five was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia with less than a 30% chance of survival. Quentin received the first transplant using stem cells from the placenta and umbilical cord from his sister and today, Quentin is 10 years in remission.
"For his exceptional discoveries, which have both altered the field of medicine forever and saved countless lives, we honor Dr. Bob Hariri with the 2018 Key Innovation award," said Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Dr. Hariri is widely known for his pioneering research in the cell therapy space and is recognized for the discovery of pluripotent stem cells in the placenta. A surgeon, biomedical scientist, and serial entrepreneur, Dr. Hariri is Founder and CEO of Celularity, a biotechnology company that productizes allogeneic cells and tissues derived from the postpartum placenta to treat a range of life-threatening and age-related diseases. At the conference, Dr. Hariri shared his vision for the future of cell therapy, including Celularity's recently announced clinical trial for its CD38 CAR-T program in partnership with Sorrento Therapeutics.
"I am deeply honored to receive this year's Pontifical Key Innovation Award," said Dr. Hariri. "It is inspiring to be surrounded by the profound world leaders and organizations that make up this conference, all of whom are committed to fostering a global culture of innovation and collaboration, and ultimately improving the human condition."
Celularity (www.celularity.com) is a biotechnology company that harnesses the power of placenta-derived cells and tissue to create regenerative health solutions. These therapies have the potential to rid the body of life threatening disease and ultimately extend the human lifespan. Celularity's intellectual property and research portfolio consists of 800 patents as well as pre-clinical and clinical assets, including CAR constructs for allogeneic CAR-T/NK products, licenses to 100+ immunotherapy assets, and commercial stage biosourcing and functional regeneration businesses.