Montreal gala celebrates Canadian health research efforts

    Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney awarded HRF Medal of Honour, Gleevec receives the
    Prix Belleau-Nickerson and Dr. Michael R. Hayden recognized with Prix
    Galien Canada

    MONTREAL, Nov. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
received the prestigious HRF Medal of Honour today in recognition of his
significant contributions to health sciences at a ceremony attended by members
of the research, pharmaceutical and business communities from across Canada.
    In addition to paying tribute to Mr. Mulroney, the more than 500
distinguished guests gathered to celebrate health research in Montreal also
recognized the winner of the Belleau-Nickerson award - Gleevec - and this
year's Prix Galien honouree, Dr. Michael Hayden.
    The Rx&D Health Research Foundation bestowed former Prime Minister
Mulroney with its rarely-awarded Medal of Honour, an exceptional honour
granted to only sixteen (16) other recipients in the medal's 62-year history.
Others who have received the Medal of Honour include Dr. Charles H. Best, the
discoverer of insulin; Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin; and
Dr. Bernard Belleau, the discoverer of 3TC (an HIV/AIDS treatment) - an award
that was given posthumously.
    "We are recognizing Mr. Mulroney's visionary approach in spearheading
legislation which has had a lasting positive impact on pharmaceutical research
and development in Canada," said Dr. Yves Morin, Chair of the Rx&D Health
Research Foundation.
    Mr Mulroney, Canada's 18th Prime Minister, is being recognized for
advancing legislation (Bills C-22 and C-91) that brought Canada's intellectual
property system in line with other developed countries. These changes have led
to significant, important increases in investment in Research and Development
(R&D) and have created a vibrant and expanding pharmaceutical research
industry in Canada. Together, Bill C-22 and Bill C-91 have led to an almost
twelve-fold increase in pharmaceutical investment in research and development
in Canada.
    "Gleevec has been found to represent a breakthrough innovation that has
proved to be a life-saving therapeutic approach for cancer patients. The
spectacular effectiveness, together with its good tolerability, has convinced
the Jury that it should be awarded this prestigious recognition", said
Dr. Pierre Moreau, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal.
    The Prix Galien was awarded to Dr. Michael R. Hayden, Director and Senior
Scientist, Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, University of
British Columbia. His contribution to health research has been truly
exceptional, and his discoveries have prompted significant advances in several
fields. For example, his research on Huntington's disease and his role in the
pharmacogenomics analysis of severe adverse drug reactions in children have
advanced health research significantly in Canada and around the world.

    About The Rx&D Health Research Foundation (HRF):

    The Rx&D Health Research Foundation is a non-profit organization whose
mission is to support health research in Canadian academic health centres and
promote the value of health research in Canada. By applying the highest
standards of scientific excellence, addressing health challenges and
establishing partnerships, HRF, one of the leading private health foundations
in the country, contributes significantly to the prevention and treatment of
disease, to a better health care system and the availability for Canadians to
access effective health products.

    About Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D):

    Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) is an association
of members dedicated to improving the health of all Canadians. As a partner of
the health-care system, our discoveries help eliminate the need for medical
procedures such as surgery, which have a significant impact on patient quality
of life and health-care budgets. Our community represents over 22,000 men and
women working for more than 50 member companies in Canada and is responsible
for generating 100,000 jobs across Canada.

    About The Prix Galien:

    The Prix Galien was established in 1970 by Roland Mehl, a French
pharmacist. It has subsequently acquired such fame that several other European
countries have adopted it. In 1994, Canada joined the European group with the
collaboration of Dr. Jacques Gagné, making Canada the first North American
country to give this award. The Prix Galien's objectives are to acknowledge
and promote pharmaceutical research and innovation. Prix Galien is considered
the Nobel Prize for the biopharmaceutical innovation world.

    About The Belleau-Nickerson Award:

    The Belleau-Nickerson Award is a unique Canadian award named after two
eminent researchers who left their mark on pioneering research in Canada: the
late Dr. Bernard Belleau and the late Dr. Mark Nickerson. The
Belleau-Nickerson Awardee is selected by a jury of the deans of the Faculties
of Pharmacy in Canada to emphasize the therapeutic, social and economic
contribution of a drug product marketed in the last decade.

For further information:

For further information: Mylène Dupéré, Thornley Fallis Communications,
(613) 231-3355 ext. 223,

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Rx&D Health Research Foundation

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Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)

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