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Drs. Erik De Clercq and Anthony S. Fauci win 2010 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research
Date:9/9/2010

Washington, DC September 8, 2010 Johnson & Johnson today announced that Erik De Clercq, M.D., Professor Emeritus, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Leuven, Belgium, and Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, have been named the recipients of the 2010 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research by an independent selection committee comprised of world-renowned scientists.

The Dr. Paul Janssen Award salutes the most passionate and creative scientists in basic or clinical research whose scientific achievements have made a measurable impact on human health. Drs. De Clercq and Fauci were selected for their pioneering work in understanding and combating viral diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS. The Award, which includes a $100,000 shared prize, will be presented to the winners during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., today. The award presentation and winners' speeches may be viewed live beginning at 9:00 a.m. via www.pauljanssenaward.com.

While accepting the honor, Dr. Fauci has declined his portion of the prize in order to comply with government ethics rules. Johnson & Johnson will donate his portion of the prize money to two organizations: Partners In Healthan international non-governmental organization dedicated to delivering quality health care to people and communities devastated by the joint burdens of poverty and disease, and Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc. one of the largest nonprofit black AIDS organizations in metropolitan Washington, D.C.

"Dr. De Clercq is a pioneer in the development of antiviral drugs which have saved the lives of millions of patients infected with HIV and other viral diseases," said Solomon Snyder, M.D., Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Chairman, Janssen Award Selection Committee. "Dr. Fauci's many contributions to research on the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated diseases were transformative to our current understanding of the immune response and the pathogenesis of HIV/AIDS."

Following today's award ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., a panel of scientific HIV/AIDS experts will join the winners to discuss the future of HIV research and the opportunities for its maximum impact on the global epidemic. An additional ceremony will be held in Beerse, Belgium, on September 9, 2010.

"Scientific knowledge has advanced tremendously since HIV was first identified in early 1980s," said Paul Stoffels, M.D., global head, Pharmaceuticals Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson. "At the time, HIV was a disease with very high mortality rates. While many challenges remain, the breakthroughs led by scientists including Drs. De Clercq and Fauci are helping people with HIV to live long and productive lives."

"The passion with which these two scientists have both pursued and advanced scientific understanding to ultimately benefit patients reflects the kind of leadership and innovation that defined Dr. Paul," said Harlan Weisman, M.D., Chief Science and Technology Officer, Medical Devices & Diagnostics, Johnson & Johnson.

During his distinguished career, Dr. De Clercq played a leading role in the discovery of antiviral agents now used to treat a variety of viral infections, including those caused by herpes simplex, varicella-zoster, cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B and HIV. Dr. De Clercq pioneered the discovery of several antiviral agents which are approved for clinical use, directly impacting the lives of countless patients living with HIV/AIDS and other viral diseases. In a joint effort between the research teams of Dr. Paul Janssen and Dr. De Clercq, the first NNRTIs (non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors) were discovered as a new strategy for the treatment of HIV infections, now a critical and central component of many HIV treatment regimens.

"In working with Dr. Paul on the discovery of the first NNRTIs I always admired his drive for new scientific discoveries and his passion for helping patients," said Dr. De Clercq. "Dr. Paul was a highly respected scientist whose work continues to extend and improve the lives of people around the world, and I am honored to be selected as the recipient of an award whose namesake carries on his tremendous legacy."

Dr. Fauci has made significant contributions to the understanding of virtually every aspect of HIV pathogenesis over the past 29 years. He pioneered the field of human immunoregulation with a number of scientific observations that serve as the basis for current understanding of the regulation of the human immune response. He is widely recognized for delineating the precise modulation mechanisms of immunosuppressive agents. He has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how the AIDS virus destroys the body's defenses and he has been instrumental in developing highly effective strategies for treating people living with HIV.

"It's wonderful to do impactful, meaningful work that you love," said Dr. Fauci. "While we should be proud of the many scientific advances that have been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, we know that in many respects, our work is just beginning. Developing HIV interventions and delivering them to the people who need them will require scientific and public health vision, and dedication from all sectors of society."

About The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

Known to his colleagues as "Dr. Paul," Janssen was one of the 20th century's most gifted and passionate researchers. He helped save millions of lives through his contribution to the discovery and development of more than 80 medicines, four of which remain on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines. The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research was established by Johnson & Johnson to honor the memory of Dr. Paul. Past winners include Craig Mello, Marc Feldmann, Sir Ravinder Maini, and Axel Ullrich. Learn more at www.pauljanssenaward.com.


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Contact: Seema Kumar
skumar10@its.jnj.com
908-218-6460
Porter Novelli
Source:Eurekalert

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