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Novartis' Bexsero triumphs at UK Prix Galien

The Awards also saw Janssen's Sirturo pick up the Orphan Drug prize

Novartis Bexaro UK Prix Galien 2014
Pictured (l-r): Mark Collinson - Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics' commercial country head Limited, Sir Kevin Barron MP, Rino Rappuoli - Novartis Vaccines' global head of research and development, and Prof Sir Michael Rawlins

Novartis' breakthrough meningitis vaccine Bexsero took the top prize at last night's Prix Galien ceremony at the House of Commons in London, picking up the Innovative Product award.

Approved in the EU in 2013, Bexsero is the first broad coverage vaccine to help protect against meningitis B and is indicated for all age groups, including infants - who are the most vulnerable.

Chairman of the judging panel Prof Sir Michael Rawlins noted that invasive meningococcal disease, which manifests as either meningitis and/or septicaemia, can be difficult to diagnose and progresses rapidly.

He added: “Developing a vaccine, however, has been extremely difficult. It is therefore fantastic that the pioneering research at Novartis has led to the use of genomic techniques in creating a broadly protective vaccine.”

The Innovative Product category also saw Astellas' Clostridium difficile drug Dificlir and Genzyme's Lemtrada for multiple sclerosis (MS) highly commended by the judging panel.

Orphan Drug award for Janssen's Sirturo

Janssen Sirturo UK Prix Galien 2014
Pictured (l-r): Dr Ramesh Dass - Janssen's European commercial lead for Sirturo, Sir Kevin Barron MP, Dr Peter Barnes - Janssen's UK Medical Director, and Prof Sir Michael Rawlins

Meanwhile, the UK Prix Galien's Orphan Drug prize went to Janssen's Sirturo (bedaquiline) in acknowledgement of its achievement as the first tuberculosis medication to be approved in four decades.

The novel treatment for pulmonary multi‐drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR‐TB) is administered by directly observed therapy and indicated as part of combination therapy in adults with pulmonary MDR‐TB.

Prof Sir Michael said the Prix Galien judges had been impressed with Sirturo's novel mechanism of action, adding: “It will have important public health benefits by reducing the spread of MDR‐TB and preventing progression to more resistant forms.”

Three further orphan drugs were highly commended at the ceremony: Bayer's Adempas for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) and pulmonary arterial hypertension; InterMune's Esbriet for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF); and Vertex's cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco.

Now in its 25th year the UK Prix Galien, which is organised and managed by market access agency WG Consulting, is held every two years and the 2014 ceremony was hosted by former shadow minister for health, Sir Kevin Barron, MP.

Barron, who is currently chair of the All Party Pharmacy Group and co‐chair of the All Party Parliamentary Health Group, said: “The pharmaceutical industry's contribution to the UK economy is significant. But its contribution to the lives of patients with life‐altering diseases, both home and overseas, is immeasurable.

“The sector's continued commitment to improving health outcomes and curbing disease across the full gamut of chronic, long‐term and rare conditions is extraordinary. And set against a global backdrop of increased demand and diminishing resources, its achievements continue to astound.“

Article by
Dominic Tyer

2nd October 2014

From: Research

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