Four Triangle-area companies that contribute to North Carolina’s reputation as “Vaccine Central” were 2012 winners of the only dedicated awards honoring the accomplishments of the vaccine industry.

Arbovax, Medicago, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics and Quintiles took home ViE Awards Wednesday evening from the fifth World Vaccine Congress. The four were winners from among 14 different categories at the Washington, D.C., gathering of more than 350 vaccine executives.

Arbovax is a Raleigh firm developing a unique vaccine platform with the help of venture capital and a $250,000 loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. The company’s technology, spun out from North Carolina State University, is leading to a Dengue fever vaccine. It won for presenting the best poster session.

Andrew Sheldon, president and CEO of Medicago, beat out six finalists for the Biotech CEO of the year award – the only honor for an individual. Medicago, with a new $42 million vaccine plant in Research Triangle Park, received an award last year as the Best Early-Stage Vaccine Biotech.

Novartis’s Bexsero took the prize in a product category: best prophylactic vaccine (approved or in development). Novartis also took second place, as a company, in the category of “Best Pharma Vaccine Pipeline.”

Bexsero appears to be the first effective shot against meningococcal B bacteria, the main cause of a deadly brain-swelling form of meningitis that primarily affects children in developed nations.

Novartis’ state-of-the-art $1 billion cell-culture vaccine manufacturing plant opened recently in Holly Springs.

Durham’s Quintiles, the world’s largest drug-development service provider, won the award as the world’s best contract research organization.

Cary-based PharmaNet/i3 took second place among CROs, named “Highly Recommended.”

Other nominees with North Carolina ties included:

• ICON Clinical Research, Durham
• INC Research Inc., with offices in Wilmington and Raleigh
• Liquidia Technologies Inc., Research Triangle Park
• PAREXEL International Corp., Durham
• Pfizer Inc., with facilities in Research Triangle Park, Cary, Maxton and Sanford
• PPD Inc., with facilities in Durham, Morrisville, Kannapolis and Wilmington

(C) NC Biotech Center