The Prix Galien USA Awards Committee last night honored excellence in research, development and innovation in the biopharmaceutical industry at its seventh annual Prix Galien Awards Gala, held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Led by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, and comprised of an unrivaled network of nine esteemed individuals in the biomedical industry and academia, including five Nobel Laureates, the Galien Awards Committee recognized leading efforts in advancing the welfare of humankind in three categories: best biotechnology product, best pharmaceutical agent, and best medical technology.
Prix Galien USA 2013 Award winners were Boston Scientific’s S-ICD® System (subcutaneous implantable defibrillator), for best medical technology product; Genentech’s Zelboraf® (vemurafenib), for best pharmaceutical agent; and Merck’s Zostavax® (Zoster Vaccine Live), for best biotechnology product.
“Biomedical research cannot advance without professionals in the medical field who are constantly seeking to understand, constantly innovating, and constantly dedicated to improving the welfare of patients everywhere,” remarked Dr. Vagelos. “This year’s winners, and indeed all of our nominees, are leading the way in developing disease-altering advancements through biopharmaceutical innovation. Because of our focus on recognizing the devoted, brilliant teams and individuals who bring about breakthroughs in the development and discovery of products that improve the human condition, the Prix Galien USA Awards continue to be the beacon of industry honors.”
In the category of Best Medical Technology Product, the 2013 Prix Galien USA Award was presented to Boston Scientific’s S-ICD System (subcutaneous implantable defibrillator), the world’s first and only subcutaneous implantable defibrillator that utilizes a pulse generator capable of delivering life-saving high-energy shocks to patients suffering from episodes of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. The innovative S-ICD System uses groundbreaking technology to identify and classify the heart rhythm as a whole rather than in individual beats, which aids in sensing, discriminating, and converting abnormal heartbeats. Unlike transvenous ICDs, the S-ICD System is implanted in the lateral thoracic region of the body and utilizes a subcutaneous electrode instead of transvenous leads to both sense and deliver therapy, eliminating potential for vascular injury and reducing potential for systemic infection as well as radiation exposure in patients.
The 2013 Prix Galien USA Award for Best Pharmaceutical Agent was presented to Genentech’s Zelboraf (vemurafenib), a prescription medicine used to treat late-stage melanoma that has metastasized to other parts of the body or cannot be removed by surgery, and that has a BRAF V600E mutation. Zelboraf has been approved by the FDA, Health Canada, and the European Commission.
The 2013 Prix Galien USA Award for Best Biotechnology Product was awarded to Merck’s Zostavax (Zoster Vaccine Live). Zostavax is an FDA-licensed vaccine that helps to reduce the risk of contracting the viral disease herpes zoster (shingles) in individuals 50 years of age and older. Zostavax is the only US-licensed vaccine that reduces the risk of reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the virus that causes chicken pox and remains dormant in the body even after recovery.