Roche Pharmaceuticals

International Prix Galien 2004: Revolutionary HIV Drug Fuzeon Receives Most Prestigious Award for Innovation in Pharmaceutical Industry

    Basel, Switzerland (ots/PRNewswire) - Today, HIV drug Fuzeon (enfuvirtide or T-20) was awarded the 2004 International Prix Galien for the most innovative new medicine. Fuzeon was selected out of 12 major new drugs in all therapeutic areas which each won national awards. Since 1970 Roche has won a total of 24 international and national Prix Galien medals, notably winning the international award twice in the field of HIV. This reflects Roche's strong track record in innovation across its entire product portfolio.

    "Fuzeon was considered as the clear winner by the whole jury because it represents a new therapeutic approach, in fact the only new class of antiretroviral HIV drugs to emerge in the last eight years. Fuzeon markedly contributes to a significant increase in patients' quality of life", said Professor Walter Osswald, the President of the International Prix Galien Jury.

    "This distinguished award is another testimony to Roche's unique innovation capabilities enhancing the development of truly novel medicines; this also brings great pride and motivation to everyone at Roche", said William M. Burns, Head of Roche's Pharmaceuticals Division. "However, innovation is only one milestone of Fuzeon's success; the next crucial step is getting the drug to those who need it."

    Fuzeon - bringing the medicine to patients

    Despite this acknowledgement of the drug as a huge technological advance, Roche's latest research showed that as many as 4 out of 5 eligible patients are missing the opportunity to benefit from this breakthrough. To ensure all eligible patients who need Fuzeon can benefit from the drug Roche is currently working with physicians, patient organisations and government agencies. Education programmes are leading to improved access. Within just three months, Fuzeon patients are twice as likely to achieve undetectable levels of virus in their blood compared to those who are not taking Fuzeon(1). Roche has recently launched comprehensive nurse-to-patient and patient-to-patient support initiatives to help coach patients through the first three critical months of therapy by which time dramatic benefits of Fuzeon can be seen and self-injection becomes routine.

    "The immediacy and magnitude of Fuzeon's benefits is a strong incentive for pre-treated patients to embrace Fuzeon as a core part of their next HIV treatment cocktail and, furthermore, data now show that these benefits can be maintained for two years," commented Dr Anton Pozniak, Consultant Physician, Department of HIV and Genitourinary, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, UK.

    International Prix Galien Award

    The International Prix Galien award recognises significant advances in pharmaceutical research. Each year, the award is an opportunity to recognise the most important drugs introduced into the public market and the most significant research team in the pharmaceutical field. The Galien award has grown into a huge event and is now considered as the industry's equivalent of the Nobel prize and the highest accolade for pharmaceutical research and development.

    Winning three International Prix Galien medals (1992 Neupogen; 1998 Invirase; 2004 Fuzeon) Roche has won the most international awards of any company. To date in 2004 Fuzeon has won a total of four national Prix Galien medals in Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium and UK. Other nationally awarded Roche medicines include Herceptin against breast cancer (2002) and the antiparkinson agent Madopar (1974).

    About Roche

    Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading innovation-driven healthcare groups. Its core businesses are pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of products and services for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is number one in the global diagnostics market, the leading supplier of pharmaceuticals for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. In 2003 prescription drug sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 19.8 billion Swiss francs, while the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 7.4 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs roughly 65,000 people in 150 countries and has alliances and R&D agreements with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai.

    All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are legally protected.


    1. Arasteh et al. XV IAC Bangkok, Thailand, 2004. Abstract MoOrB1058XX

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