Three Canadian researchers and two pharmaceutical companies honoured for outstanding innovations in Canadian healthcare

TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - The Health Research Foundation has awarded its prestigious Medal of Honour to Dr. Charles Scriver and Mr. Arnold Steinberg for their outstanding contributions to health sciences and public health innovation during a ceremony held in Toronto today. The ceremony was co-hosted with Prix Galien Canada.

"The Health Research Foundation is proud to award the Medal of Honour to Dr. Charles Scriver and Mr. Arnold Steinberg," said Ms. Teresa Bitetti, Interim Chair, Rx&D Health Research Foundation and General Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada. "Above and beyond their extraordinary impact on the health of young Canadians, they have both exemplified a life of dedication to academic medicine."

Together, Dr. Scriver and Mr Steinberg successfully worked to ensure the addition of vitamin D to milk in Quebec starting in the early 1970s, reducing the occurrence of nutritional rickets in children from over 1,000 per year to almost none. They have also collaborated on the development of the National Food Distribution Centre for the Management of Patients with Hereditary Metabolic Disease. The Centre focusses on the development of special diets as treatment for children with genetic disorders, including importing, storage and distribution of specialized dietary products. Dr. Scriver is a Professor at McGill University and a world-renowned geneticist and pioneer in the study of genetic diseases of children, especially resulting from inborn errors of metabolism. Mr Steinberg is the current Chancellor of McGill University, a philanthropist and has provided leadership to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Patient Safety Initiative, Canada Health Infoway, and the McGill University Health Centre, to name a few.

The Health Research Foundation co-hosted the award ceremony with Prix Galien, who awarded the Prix Galien Canada 2012 Research to Dr. Robert E.W. Hancock, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia and Canada Research Chair holder. Dr. Hancock has made major contributions to the area of microbiology and antimicrobial agents and has shown scientific leadership on many fronts. He has been involved in the founding of many scientific and biotechnology organizations and companies. His breakthrough discovery of a novel way of selectively modulating immunity and suppressing harmful inflammation while retaining protective immunity has, according to Prix Galien Canada, the potential to revolutionize human healthcare.

The Prix Galien Canada 2012-Innovative product was awarded to Incivek (telaprevir) marketed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Canada Ltd and to Victrelis (boceprivir) marketed by Merck Canada Inc. Incivek and Victrelis are the first two direct acting antivirals available in Canada for the treatment of chronic genotype 1 hepatitis C infection. The protease inhibitors have been shown to be very effective and appear to have shortened the duration of the treatment for chronic genotype 1 hepatitis C infection. They represent a significant improvement in the treatment of the disease and should be considered a real breakthrough.

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)
Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents the men and women working for more than 50 member companies which invest more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy, contributing over $3 billion to the Canadian economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

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 Canada is a branch of Innovation Life Canada. The mission of Innovation Life Canada is to celebrate innovators in life sciences through the organization of events for the general public and most importantly the younger generations. These events will bring an educational twist by gathering together the winners of our various awards and distinctions and affording them the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences with the next generation.  Innovation Life Canada is a non-profit organization.


For further information:

For more information on the HRF Medal of Honour:

Isabelle Robillard
Media Relations
Telephone: 613-236-0455 (extension 831)

For more information on the Prix Galien:

Telephone: 514-216-2513

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