Prix Galien names 2023 winners in pharma and biotech
In the world of medical innovation, few accolades carry as much weight as the Prix Galien Awards, which highlight the advances in biotech, pharmaceuticals, and other domains. The 2023 winners include Bristol Myers Squibb’s Camzyos (mavacamten) as the best biotechnology product and Lilly’s Mounjaro (tirzepatide) and Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic (semaglutide) sharing the honor for best pharmaceutical product. Finally, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Spevigo (spesolimab) and CSL / uniQure’s Hemgenix were twin winners in the rare/orphan disease category.
Here, we take a closer look at the Prix Galien 2023 winners in pharma, biotech and rare/orphan disease.
Camzyos: A new chapter in cardiomyopathy therapy
First winning FDA approval in April 2022, Camzyos is a novel option for symptomatic NYHA class II-III obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The drug is the first FDA-backed allosteric and reversible inhibitor selective for cardiac myosin, targeting the underlying pathophysiology of obstructive HCM.
In clinical trials, Camzyos was associated with significant durable improvements in functional capacity and symptoms compared to those on placebo. In particular, it was linked to a significant reduction in post-exercise LVOT peak gradient, a core measure of obstructive HCM severity.
Its approval in regions across the globe, including in the European Union and Asia, highlight its therapeutic value for symptomatic obstructive HCM patients.
Spotlight on Ozempic and Mounjaro
Speaking of transformation, the award-winning GLP-1 medications Ozempic and Mounjaro are two of the highest profile drugs to emerge in recent years. The drugs offer durable efficacy in helping people with type 2 diabetes manage blood sugar levels and weight. With rising obesity rates contributing to an uptick in type 2 diabetes, a recent study presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) supported the efficacy of Ozempic (semaglutide) for up to three years in managing weight and blood sugar levels in people with the condition.
Sales of Ozempic and Wegovy, a semaglutide therapy specifically for obesity, have propelled Novo Nordisk to be a $400 billion company. Novo Nordisk’s share price on the New York Stock Exchange is up more than 40% so far this year.
Similarly, Lilly is also having a banner year. Its stock is up 51.91% to $554.46. Since its launch, Mounjaro has witnessed a tenfold increase in its quarterly sales, from $97.3 million in Q3 2022 to $979.7 million in Q2 2023.
Financial implications of GLP-1 drugs
The potential of semaglutide and tirzepatide in obesity may ultimately outshine their role in treating type 2 diabetes. Analysts predict that obesity drug segment could fetch $44 billion by 2030 with some projections more optimistic.
The meteoric growth has been so intense that the share price of companies making everything from insulin pumps and glucose monitors to snack food and sodas have seen steep drops in their valuations in 2023. Insulet has seen its stock fall 52.70% so far this year to $135.46. Tandem Diabetes Care has seen even steeper declines — falling almost 61% to $17.39, year to date. Food companies such as CocaCola, Kraft Heinz, and Hershey have also not been spared. Coca-Cola has seen a 10% drop in its share price. Similarly, Hershey’s share price is down 17% while Kraft Heinz’s share price has fallen 20.5%.
Spevigo and Hemgenix offer new hope in rare disease treatment
In the rare/orphan disease category of the Prix Galien Awards 2023, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Spevigo (spesolimab) was honored thanks to its potential for individuals with generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP), a severe and rare skin condition. The drug won FDA’s Fast Track designation and was approved in September 2022. The drug is an interleukin-36 receptor antagonist that targets the proinflammatory cytokines pivotal in GPP pathogenesis.
The other winner in the category, Hemgenix, was born out of a collaboration between CSL and uniQure. Approved as a one-time gene therapy for severe and moderately severe hemophilia B, Hemgenix has scored FDA approval but also a nod from the European Commission. The drug is one of the world’s most expensive, priced at a staggering $3.5 million per single infusion, reflecting the high cost of novel gene therapies. The impact of the drug on patients’ quality of life, however, is significant, given Hemgenix’ potential to enable hemophilia B patients to engage in activities they were previously advised against.
Evolution of Prix Galien winners in recent years
In recent years, winners of the competition have spanned a diverse range of therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, infectious diseases, cancer, and genetic disorders.
In biotech, winners reflect significant advances in the field of cell and gene therapy, including promising therapies such as Novartis’s Zolgensma, a gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy, which won the Galien award for best biotech product in 2021, and Kymriah, a CAR-T cell therapy for certain types of leukemia and lymphoma, which won in the same category in both 2018 and 2020.
Recent winners in the pharma category have showcased novel approaches to drug development, such as the use of dual GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonists in Lilly’s Mounjaro for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and, potentially, obesity. Similarly, the sharpened focus on precision medicine is evident in the targeting of specific genetic mutations with drugs like Lumakras (sotorasib) from Amgen for non-small cell lung cancer, which won the Prix Galien Award for Best Pharmaceutical Agent in 2022.
The winners of the competition highlight the rapid pace of biopharma innovation and the potential for new therapies to transform patient care.
Filed Under: Biologics, Cardiovascular, Cell & gene therapy