British drug makers honoured at Prix Galien UK Awards

·2-min read
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine - REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine - REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

A string of British health companies have won prizes at the 2022 Prix Galien UK Awards dedicated to innovation that improves the human condition.

Cambridge-based Cyted was honoured for a developing a pill that can test for oesophagus conditions that might turn into cancer.

Meanwhile, London-based picked up a gong for an algorithm that can detect suspected lung cancer in chest x-rays

International groups Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Moderna and Novo Nordisk were also recognised for their work in the UK.

Moderna received the award for the best biotechnology product for its Spikevax vaccine against Covid-19, used in the UK, US and European Union among others as part of their immunisation push to drop restrictions and move on from the pandemic.

US company Alnylam received the same award for Onpattro, a prescription drug to treat polyneuropathy, a condition that damages nerves in the arms and legs, caused by an illness called hereditary ATTR amyloidosis.

The latter is a rare, fatal disease where an abnormal protein called amyloid builds up in organs and tissues of the body, preventing them from working properly.

They are both based on RNA interference (RNAi), a breakthrough discovery in understanding how genes are regulated naturally within cells.

Biologists Andrew Fire and Craig Mello jointly received the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for this discovery.

Rybelsus, produced by Danish group Novo Nordisk, was handed the award for the best pharmaceutical product.

It is the world’s first ‘protein in a pill’ treatment for diabetes and was developed in conjunction with the NHS. It was rolled out in 2020 after positive clinical trials in Britain.

Cyted was awarded best medical technology for Cytosponge, a new diagnostic test to identify conditions affecting the oesophagus before they turn into cancer.

It is a small capsule attached to a fine string. Once swallowed, it dissolves in the stomach to collect cells from the lining of the oesophagus. These cells are then analysed for abnormalities.

Finally, won best digital health solution for its Red Dot algorithm, based on artificial intelligence, used to detect abnormal chest X-rays including lung cancer.

It can also be deployed to speed up the treatment of Covid cases.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, Honorary Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Imperial College and chair of the Prix Galien UK committee, said: "It was remarkable to be in the company of many great innovators who have dedicated their lives to bringing better health to patients around the world through their groundbreaking work in research and development.

"The Prix Galien Award Committees evaluated extraordinary companies and product candidates for this year's Prix Galien Awards, and we remain inspired by their commitment to advancing the quality of care provided for all."

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