Drug Discovery of the Year awarded to team behind the development of trametinib

December 20th, 2013
The British Pharmacological Society announced that its Drug Discovery of the Year award has been won by the team at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) responsible for the development of trametinib – a new treatment for malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer).

"The Drug Discovery of the Year award celebrates the crucial role of pharmacologists in the development of new medicines," explains Professor Routledge, President of the British Pharmacological Society. "The GSK team behind trametinib has been singled out for recognition because of the way in which they created a 'first-in-class' medicine for a devastating disease by building upon successful early research in animals."

There are about 12,000 new cases of malignant melanoma diagnosed every year in the UK, with a significantly greater proportion proving fatal than other types of skin cancer (about 2,000 deaths each year).[1] Malignant melanoma is caused by exposure to UV light, which may be naturally from sunlight, or artificially through tanning beds and certain types of work. It is the third most common cancer in the 15 to 39 year age group.[2]

Dr Ann Hayes, Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society and chair of the judging panel, confirms: "This year's nominees for Drug Discovery of the Year all demonstrated excellence in pharmacology and were difficult to separate. Trametinib was distinguished by its novel translational pharmacology, but undoubtedly the judges were also impressed by the GSK team's ambition to address the impact of malignant melanoma on the lives of so many patients and their families."

The Society will present the award at its annual meeting Pharmacology 2013, which is being held this week in London. The winning team was selected by a judging panel of experts in industrial pharmacology. Drs Aidan Gilmartin and Kiran Patel will collect the award on behalf of the scientists who contributed towards the development of trametinib.

[1] Cancer Research UK. Skin Cancer Statistics. Available online: www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/types/skin/. Last accessed: 18 November 2013.

[2] Health Protection Agency. Number of new cases of malignant melanoma in persons aged under 75 per 100,000 under 75 year olds. Available online: www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1279889184140. Last accessed: 18 November 2013.

Provided by British Pharmacological Society

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