CHAMPIX Receives Top Honour with 2009 Innovative Product Award

Smoking cessation product honoured by Prix Galien, Canada's most prestigious award for pharmaceutical research

KIRKLAND, QC, Nov. 18 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada accepted the Prix Galien Canada 2009 Innovative Product Award for CHAMPIX (varenicline tartrate), the first prescription treatment for smoking cessation in adults specifically designed to target nicotine addiction. The award was presented last night at a gala in Ottawa recognizing excellence in pharmaceutical research.

Judged by eight eminent specialists involved in the sphere of Canadian and Pharmaceutical research, the Prix Galien Innovative Product Award is presented to the company whose product has been deemed to have made the most significant overall contribution to patient care in Canada in terms of clinical efficacy, benefits and innovation.

"We are pleased to honour CHAMPIX with this year's Prix Galien Innovative Product Award," said Dr. Jacques Gagné, President of the Prix Galien Canada. "The jury was impressed with the scientific approach to the development of this product, and considers CHAMPIX to be a truly innovative product that has shown favourable clinical efficacy and safety."

Targeting Nicotine Addiction

In 2006 CHANTIX/CHAMPIX was approved by the FDA and EMEA, with Health Canada's approval following in early 2007. CHAMPIX is the first product specifically designed for smoking cessation, and it is an innovative, targeted therapy with a novel and unique dual mechanism of action. Unlike other therapies, it is not a nicotine replacement therapy and does not deliver any nicotine to the body. In clinical trials CHAMPIX was found to be safe and well tolerated.(1) The drug is an important treatment option that has helped many smokers who want to quit in Canada and around the world.

Discovered by Pfizer Inc, CHAMPIX was developed at Pfizer's research facilities in Groton, Connecticut through a project that commenced in 1993. The original discovery team was seeking a smoking cessation treatment that could address the addictive properties of nicotine

"Two factors make quitting smoking challenging and prevent smokers from achieving long term abstinence from nicotine: The presence of craving and withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting, and the reinforcing effects of nicotine," said Brian O'Neill, Research Fellow, Pfizer Global Research and Development, who led one of the two chemistry labs involved in the development of CHAMPIX and accepted the award on behalf of Pfizer Canada Inc. "Based on the mechanism of nicotine addiction, we were able to develop a molecule that could specifically target the nicotinic receptors in the brain."

In development, the team of scientists leveraged knowledge of naturally occurring plant compounds with clues from classical morphine chemistry, leading to the emergence of a new compound class. Once synthesized, CHAMPIX was studied in both a lab and clinical setting. CHAMPIX has a novel dual action that allows some stimulation of the receptor in the brain to reduce cravings experienced during nicotine withdrawal, as well as blocks nicotine from binding to the receptor thus blocking the positive reinforcement of nicotine if the patient smokes while on therapy. It is by addressing both of these issues in one medication that CHAMPIX supports the smoker throughout their quit process.

"This recognition is a testament to Pfizer's dedication to research and develop innovative products to address the health and wellness of patients worldwide," said Paul Lévesque, President of Pfizer Canada Inc. "Pfizer is proud to receive this award for CHAMPIX. We thank the Prix Galien for this great honour."

Smoking involves a Nicotine Addiction

Nicotine addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder that makes quitting smoking difficult, and involves both physical and psychological symptoms including withdrawal which can trigger a range of symptoms including craving, irritability, poor concentration and anxiety.(2),(3) Most smokers try to quit cold turkey, but according to the World Health Organization, less than five per cent of smokers trying to quit achieve lasting abstinence without help or support.(4)

Almost five million people in Canada smoke, and each year tobacco kills 37,000 people, making it a major public health issue.(5),(6)

As with all medications, patients and their healthcare providers should discuss the risks of smoking, the health benefits of quitting smoking, and the product's efficacy and safety profile. The most commonly observed adverse events associated with CHAMPIX were nausea, abnormal dreams, constipation, flatulence, and vomiting.

About the Prix Galien

The Prix Galien is the most prestigious award in the field of Canadian pharmaceutical research and innovation. Referred to as the Nobel Prize of pharmaceutical research, it recognizes the efforts and achievements of pharmaceutical research and development. The Prix Galien is composed of two awards: The Prix Galien Research award recognizing the outstanding contribution of a researcher or a research team to the Canadian biopharmaceutical research; and the Prix Galien for Innovative Product is awarded for a pharmaceutical product whose efficacy, safety and innovation contributes to enhance the quality of life of Canadians. For more information, visit

About Pfizer in Canada

Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., the world's leading biopharmaceutical company. The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world's best-known consumer products. Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life. Our commitment is reflected in everything Pfizer does, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that it takes more than medication to be truly healthy. To learn more about Pfizer's More than Medication philosophy and programs, visit To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit

    (1)  CHAMPIX (varenicline tartrate) Pfizer Canada Inc., May 2008
    (2)  National Institute on Drug Abuse (1998). NIDA Notes: Facts about
         nicotine and tobacco products, Volume 13, Number 3 (July 1998).
         Accessed November 6, 2009.
    (3)  Le Foll, Bernard and George, Tony P. Treatment of tobacco
         dependence: Integrating recent progress into practice. CMAJ 2007;177
         (II):1373-80. Accessed
         November 6, 2009.
    (4)  WHO European Strategy for Smoking Cessation Policy. Accessed November 6,
    (5)  Health Canada. Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) 2008.
         _ctums-esutc_2008/wave-phase-1_summary-sommaire-eng.php. Accessed
         November 6, 2009.
    (6)  Public Health Agency of Canada. Minimizing the risk of
         Cardiovascular Disease.
         mcv/risk-risques-eng.php. Accessed November 6, 2009.

SOURCE Pfizer Canada Inc.

For further information: For further information: Heather Bisset, Corporate Communications, Pfizer Canada Inc., Tel.: (514) 693-4712,; Jacqueline Zonneville, NATIONAL Public Relations, Tel.: (416) 848-1398,

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