LONDON (Nov. 17, 2023) – Citeline announced the winners of the annual Scrip Awards last night, recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those improving human healthcare worldwide. Now in its 19th year, the Scrip Awards spans 15 categories, honoring winners for their work in pharmaceuticals, biotech and allied industries across a wide range of activities.
The 2023 Scrip Award winners by category:
- MSD's Innovation Award – Sponsored by MSD: Quris-AI Closes the Clinical Prediction Gap
- Best Oncology R&D Advance Award: AffyImmune Therapeutics’ AIC100 ICAM-1 targeting CAR T cell therapy
- Clinical Advance of the Year – Sponsored by Bioforum: Eisai’s Phase III Clarity AD study of Leqembi in early Alzheimer’s disease
- Business Development Team of the Year: Ipsen
- Quris-AI Partnership Alliance Award – Sponsored by Quris-AI: AstraZeneca with Quell Therapeutics
- Best Contract Research Organization – Specialist Providers: CluePoints
- Best Contract Research Organization – Full-Service Providers: Parexel
- Licensing Deal of the Year: Nimbus Therapeutics and Takeda
- Community Partnership of the Year: Gilead Sciences and the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s RADIAN partnership
- Executive of the Year – (Developmental-Stage Companies) – Sponsored by Dalriada Drug Discovery: David Zaccardelli, president and CEO of Verona Pharma
- Executive of the Year – (Commercial-Stage Companies): Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi
- WuXi AppTec's Biotech Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by WuXi AppTec: MoonLake Immunotherapeutics
- Best New Drug Award: Eisai’s Leqembi for Alzheimer’s disease
- Pharma Company of the Year – Sponsored by Parexel: Eli Lilly and Company
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Sponsored by ICON: Jeremy Levin
Details for the award honorees follows:
MSD's Innovation Award – Sponsored by MSD: The Quris BioAI platform is the first AI clinical prediction platform that simulates clinical trials and a real human body’s reaction to drugs by leveraging a patented organ-on-chip-system through the use of stem-cell-derived tissue and AI to effectively predict drug toxicity. It better predicts which drug candidates will safely work in humans and helps pharma companies avoid the risks and costs of failed clinical trials and end the reliance on ineffective animal testing. This brings down the cost to consumers and accelerates speed to market.
Best Oncology R&D Advance Award: AffyImmune Therapeutics is applying its Tune & Track technology to the development of CAR-T cell therapies for solid tumors that are more effective, have less on-target, off-tumor toxicity and are trackable within the body. At the 2023 ASCO meeting, AffyImmune presented positive safety and early efficacy results from its US-based Phase I study for AIC100, an ICAM- 1 targeting CAR-T cell therapy, including an unprecedented partial response in a patient with anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Clinical Advance of the Year — Sponsored by Bioforum: Clarity AD was the first clinical trial to show that a drug could reduce the rate of disease progression and slow cognitive and functional decline in adults with Alzheimer’s disease and paved the way for the full US approval of Leqembi (lecanemab). The beta-amyloid targeting drug reduced clinical decline by 27% at 18 months compared with placebo. The trial’s eligibility criteria included patients with a broad range of comorbidities/comedications and included a mix of racial and ethnic groups.
Business Development Team of the Year: Ipsen’s partnering team has undergone a transformation following an organizational shift in 2021 to focus on delivering the company’s external innovation strategy and expand its pipeline. Since 2021, the team has expanded Ipsen’s portfolio with over 20 best- or first-in-class programs in oncology, rare diseases and neuroscience, including the acquisition of Albireo. This deal, for a total consideration up to almost $1.2bn, expanded Ipsen’s expertise in rare liver diseases and was its second acquisition in nine months.
Quris-AI Partnership Alliance Award — Sponsored by Quris-AI: Treg cell therapy is a unique approach to treat autoimmune diseases by inducing localised immune tolerance through the immune suppressive properties of targeted Treg cells. Quell’s proprietary platform to stabilise Treg cells offers the potential to provide durability beyond that seen with other approaches. The firm’s manufacturing expertise and regulatory experience with its lead Treg asset makes Quell a strong fit with AstraZeneca’s disease area expertise and extensive R&D and commercial capabilities.
Best Contract Research Organization — Specialist Providers:CluePoints has been at the forefront of eClinical technology innovation for over a decade, leading the industry in risk-based monitoring and quality management. CluePoints uses its expertise in algorithm-driven data analytics to improve the automation of key processes and the interrogation and interpretation of data and to bring a risk-based philosophy to several other clinical trial processes.
Best Contract Research Organization — Full-Service ProvidersAs the industry emerged from the pandemic, customers faced new macroeconomic challenges, including pricing/inflation pressures, supply chain complexities, geopolitical tensions, site resource limitations and biotech funding slowdowns. Parexel continued to evolve and meet customers’ needs with its patient-first focus, creating new site and recruitment models, expanding capabilities in Asia-Pacific and becoming the first top CRO to appoint a chief patient officer and patient ambassador.
Licensing Deal of the Year: Nimbus Therapeutics’ sale of its clinical stage selective TYK2 inhibitor to Takeda Pharmaceuticals, announced in December 2022, garnered the firm an upfront payment of $4bn, with up to $2bn in additional commercial milestones, making it one of the largest biotech transactions in recent memory. TAK-279 augments Takeda’s portfolio of programs for immune-mediated diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease – it has since shown best-in-class potential following promising Phase IIb data in psoriasis – and will benefit from the major’s clinical and regulatory reach.
Community Partnership of the Year:Gilead Sciences partnered with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to establish RADIAN, a five year, $25m partnership to help prevent new cases of HIV, prevent AIDS-related deaths and reduce HIV-related stigma in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the only region in the world where both new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are increasing. RADIAN is community driven, putting decisions around program strategy and implementation in the hands of the people and communities most affected by HIV to ensure projects will be tailored to local needs.
Executive of the Year — (Developmental-Stage Companies) – Sponsored by Dalriada Drug Discovery: Zaccardelli has transformed Verona from a small biotech with a market cap of around $75m at the time of his appointment in February 2020, to a firm worth around $1.6bn with a first-in class therapeutic, ensifentrine, submitted for US approval in COPD. Verona secured access to up to $300m in funding, giving it a financial runway until at least the end of 2025, including the potential commercial launch of ensifentrine. Verona was also the best performing biotech small cap in 2022, following a 289% increase in its share price.
Executive of the Year — (Commercial-Stage Companies): Zaccardelli has transformed Verona from a small biotech with a market cap of around $75m at the time of his appointment in February 2020, to a firm worth around $1.6bn with a first-in class therapeutic, ensifentrine, submitted for US approval in COPD. Verona secured access to up to $300m in funding, giving it a financial runway until at least the end of 2025, including the potential commercial launch of ensifentrine. Verona was also the best performing biotech small cap in 2022, following a 289% increase in its share price.
WuXi AppTec's Biotech Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by WuXi AppTec: The last year has been transformational for MoonLake Immunotherapeutics with landmark clinical trial results followed by a substantial fundraising. The MIRA Phase II trial of sonelokimab, its Nanobody for the treatment of inflammation, reported positive top-line results in hidradenitis suppurativa. MoonLake later raised $400m in an upsized offering to help fund the continued development of sonelokimab, making it the largest European fundraising in Q2 2023. MoonLake also initiated a second Phase II trial of sonelokimab in active psoriatic arthritis.
Best New Drug Award: Leqembi (lecanemab) is the first approved treatment shown to reduce the rate of disease progression and to slow cognitive and functional decline in patients with mild cognitive impairment or the mild dementia state of Alzheimer’s disease. The humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody targets and clears the most neurotoxic form of amyloid beta that continuously accumulates as well as removes the existing plaques to treat the progressive, chronic disease.
Pharma Company of the Year – Sponsored by Parexel: Eli Lilly and Company has enjoyed a successful year on many fronts.
Sales of its diabetes therapy, Mounjaro, have grown at such as pace that the drug became the firm’s third-best selling drug in within a year of its launch – a trajectory that is set to accelerate following its recent approval in the US for weight loss.
Lilly’s R&D pipeline has been making waves not just in the increasingly competitive field of cardiometabolic disease, where successors to Mounjaro are showing great promise, but also in the burgeoning Alzheimer's market, where its novel product donanemab awaits approval.
And the firm has been active in dealmaking, with three recent billion-dollar-plus acquisitions of POINT Biopharma, Versanis and DICE Therapeutics to bolster its positions in radiopharmaceuticals, and metabolic and inflammatory diseases.
Lifetime Achievement Award – Sponsored by ICON: For 30 years, Jeremy Levin has served as a physician, biotech venture capitalist, biotech entrepreneur, chair of the board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, and executive leader of both large and small biopharmaceutical companies.
Truly international, he was born in South Africa, moved during childhood with his family to the UK, and after gaining degrees from both Oxford and Cambridge universities, he practised medicine in London, Cape Town and Geneva.
Levin then went to America to join the budding biotech industry, where he worked under Henri Termeer at Genzyme. He advanced into global C-suite level roles at Novartis and Bristol Myers Squibb, before becoming CEO of Teva.
Throughout his career, Levin has shown a knack for finding emerging innovations that have unlocked new therapeutic areas. He staked his job on the acquisition of Medarex by Bristol Myers Squibb in the early 2000s – a deal that ultimately led to the launch of the first checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo. At BMS, he implemented the "String of Pearls" strategy to complement internal R&D with external innovation – now a standard for how large pharmas interact with biotechs.
Levin also saw the promise of RNA therapeutics and was among the first to invest in companies like Alnylam, and today, he is seeking to crack open another field – neuroscience. In 2014, he used his own money to found Ovid Therapeutics to develop medicines for rare brain diseases.
Levin has led his peers and politicians to take a stand on matters affecting the health and the future of society. As the chair of BIO, he helped the industry establish vaccine standards for COVID-19 so that politics did not interfere with safety.
He has defended at the highest levels the contributions of immigrants to American medical science, and led industry’s response to humanitarian crises around the world. Levin is also a leading voice in access to medicines, co-authoring the Biotech Social Pact for responsible pricing in Europe.
“Congratulations to all of last night’s winners! Each year, we receive extremely high-quality entries, showcasing the incredible work and dedication from the industry. Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry, the nominees, winners and the judges for the time they put into the Awards. I would also like to extend my thanks to our headline sponsor, ICON, and all our other sponsors who have contributed to this fantastic event,” said Alex Shimmings, Executive Editor, Europe for Scrip. “We look forward to seeing you next year for the 20th anniversary of the Scrip Awards!”
For more information on the Scrip Pharma Awards, visit: https://www.citeline.com/awards/scripawards
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