Inventors of a new drug for hepatitis B treatment, a tailor-made hearing aid and improved high speed data transfer were awarded a coveted European Patent Office prize here Thursday.
In the research category French scientist Gilles Gosselin, and his co-inventors Jean-Louis Imbach, also of France, and the late US professor Martin L. Bryant won the prize for developing "a highly effective anti-viral drug against hepatitis B".
The new drug shows less cross-resistance with other medications and can thus be used as a first line of treatment, the European Patent Office (EPO) said.
One hundred times more infectious than the HIV virus that causes AIDS, hepatitis B (HBV) is a particularly persistent disease that chronically affects 350 million people worldwide, despite the availability of vaccines.
Some two billion people have been infected worldwide with HBV.
The EPO's Inventor Award in the category Industry went to Danish scientists Jan Toepholm, Soeren Westermann and Svend Vitting Andersen for developing a tailor-made hearing aid after becoming aware of the drawbacks of traditional hearing-aid design.
In the category Non-European countries the winners were Australians John O' Sullivan, Graham Daniels, Terence Percival, Diethelm Ostry and John Deane, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, for developing a wireless LAN (local area network) for high speed data transfer.
The winner of the European Inventor Award 2012 in the category Lifetime Achievement, German Professor Josef Bille of Heidelberg University, was rewarded for developing a device for laser eye surgery.
Bille has filed almost 100 patents in the field of ophthalmology and is a pioneer in the area of laser eye correction.
The Munich-based European Patent Office launched the award in 2006.
Explore further: Bribery 'hits 1.6 billion people a year'