Skip to NavigationSkip to content

Shortlist announced for best new pharma product

Published on 24/06/14 at 12:04pm
Esbriet image
InterMune's IPF drug Esbriet is one of the drugs tipped for an award

Treatments for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, hepatic encephalopathy and meningococcal infection are among 14 new medicines shortlisted for the UK Prix Galien award.

The award is regarded as one of the highest distinctions to bestow upon a pharma product, and previous winners include Bayer/J&J’s oral anticoagulant Xarelto and two cervical cancer vaccines from GSK and Merck.

The 2014 Innovative Drug Award include Astellas’ antibiotic Dificlir (fidaxomicin), Sanofi/Genzyme’s MS drug Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), and Lundbeck’s alcoholism treatment Selincro (nalmefene).

In the orphan drug category, which looks at treatments for rare conditions, there are drugs from InterMune for lung disorder idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in the guise of Esbriet (pirfenidone); Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ Kalydeco (ivacaftor) for cystic fibrosis; and Celgene’s multiple myeloma medicine Imnovid (pomalidomide).

“It’s a fascinating range of medicines – and one that, once again, truly reflects the evolving environment, unmet clinical needs and national healthcare challenges,” says Dr Phil Wakefield, executive director for market access, WG Consulting, which has managed UK Prix Galien since 1996 and owned the UK franchise since 2004.

He adds: “The judges will not have an easy job; there are so many interesting – and resonant – candidates. The Innovative Drug Award contains two potentially strong public health stories in Bexsero and Selincro. Likewise, in combating C. difficile, Dificlir addresses a long-standing and high-profile challenge in the NHS.”

Alison Currie, director for clinical evidence and strategy at WG Consulting, adds: “The 2014 Orphan Drug Award promises to be very competitive – with all the shortlisted products appearing to have strong arguments.

“For example, Esbriet is the first drug ever to be approved for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – following a lot of failed attempts – while Sirturo is the first new TB treatment for many years. Kalydeco, meanwhile, is extremely novel. The judges have a huge job on their hands.”

But not all medicines that have received the award have gone on to be the most innovative of its class. In 2012 – the last time the awards were given out – two hepatitis C pills in the form of Janssen-Cilag’s Incivo (telaprevir) and MSD’s Victrelis (boceprevir) won the prize.

These drugs have fallen to the wayside since they won the award two years ago, being overtaken by the juggernaut that is Gilead’s hep C pill Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), which is on course to break the $10 billion marker next year.

Sovaldi has not been put on the shortlist for this year as it was not submitted by Gilead - it is however eligible for the 2016 awards should the firm enter.

The medicines will be judged by a panel of senior NHS professionals, with the winner being announced by Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, president of the Royal Society of Medicine and former chairman of NICE.

The presentation ceremony is to be held at the House of Commons this October.

Ben Adams 

Mission Statement is a leading portal for the pharmaceutical industry, providing industry professionals with pharma news, pharma events, pharma service company listings and pharma jobs,
Site content is produced by our editorial team exclusively for and our industry newspaper Pharmafocus. Service company profiles and listings are taken from our pharmaceutical industry directory, Pharmafile, and presented in a unique Find and Compare format to ensure the most relevant matches