Cancer Drug Named 'Discovery of the Decade'

Novartis wins Prix Galien Awards for Cosentyx and Gleevec.

Novartis recently won 2 prestigious Prix Galien Awards for its biologic and cancer drugs, Cosentyx and Gleevec.

They won the Prix Galien USA Award for Best Biotechnology Product for Cosentyx (secukinumab), and the Prix Galien Foundation “Discovery of the Decade” Award for Best Pharmaceutical Product for Gleevec (imatinib mesylate).

The Prix Galien Awards are considered the pharmaceutical industry’s Novel Prize, according to a press release from Novartis. The awards identify excellence in scientific innovation that improves overall health.

Cosentyx is the first fully human interleukin-17A antagonist approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. It has currently been approved in more than 65 countries for this indication.

Moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis affects more than 7.5 million people in the US, and is characterized by thick skin lesions that cause itching, scaling, and pain. The drug has also been approved to treat patients with active ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.

The drug has treated more than 10,000 patients in clinical trials, and over 50,000 patients post-marketing.

Gleevec represents the first time that investigators were able to identify a chromosomal abnormality, and created a drug to target that protein, Novartis reported.

Gleevec quickly became the standard treatment of multiple cancers. The drug is indicated in patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia in the chronic phase, blast crisis, accelerated phase, or in chronic phase after the failure of interferon-alpha treatment.

It is also indicated in patients with KIT (CD117)-positive gastrointestinal stromal tumors that have metastasized, cannot be surgically removed, or for patients who have had surgery to remove the tumor.

Gleevec helped create a new paradigm for drug creation because it showed that diseases can be seemingly unrelated but share a drug-sensitive target, and that molecular targeting can be successful, according to Novartis.

The “Discovery of the Decade” is an award given once every 10 years. In addition to Gleevec, Coartem, and Promacta were also nominated for this category.

Gleevec also won the Prix Galien International Prize in 2002, and was also recognized in 2009 for Best Pharmaceutical Product, demonstrating the innovation of the drug.

To date, Novartis has received over 40 national Prix Galien awards for Gleevec, Rimactane, Parlodel, Sandimmune, Sandostatin, Simulect, and Visudyne.

“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.”