Considered “the pharmaceutical industry’s Nobel Prize,” the Prix Galien rewards excellence in scientific innovation that improves the state of human health. The award was first established in 1970 by French pharmacist Roland Mehl and was inaugurated in the United States in 2007 to recognize the technical, scientific and clinical research skills necessary to develop innovative medicines.
Novartis has been awarded the prestigious 2016 Prix Galien USA Award for Best Biotechnology Product for Cosentyx® (secukinumab), as well as the Prix Galien Foundation “Discovery of the Decade” Award for Best Pharmaceutical Product for the drug Gleevec® (imatinib mesylate). The awards were presented at a ceremony in New York City.
“We are honored to receive these prestigious awards for Cosentyx and Gleevec, which not only have changed the practice of medicine for certain conditions, but also represent years of hard work by our scientists,” said Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis. “These wins underscore our commitment to addressing the unmet medical needs of patients through science-based innovation.”
Cosentyx was the first fully human interleukin-17A (IL-17A) antagonist approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015 for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Psoriasis affects an estimated 7.5 million people in the US. It is a chronic immune-mediated disease characterized by thick and extensive skin lesions (plaques), which can cause itching, scaling, and pain. Cosentyx was also approved for the treatment of active ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis in 2016.
The discovery of Gleevec marked the first time in the history of cancer treatment that scientists were able to identify a chromosomal abnormality and then develop a drug that would target that specific protein. Gleevec, a molecularly targeted treatment, rapidly became a therapy of choice for Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML) and KIT (CD117)-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumors (KIT+ GIST). By showing that certain diseases can share a drug-sensitive target with seemingly unrelated ailments, and that molecular targeting can be medically and commercially successful, Gleevec helped establish a new paradigm for drug development.