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PhRMA Honors Gardasil(r) Researchers With Discoverers Award

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, April 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) will honor recipients of its 2009 Discoverers Award and 2009 Clinical Trial Exceptional Service Award tonight at PhRMA's annual meeting in San Antonio, TX.

The awards will be presented to biopharmaceutical company scientists and other researchers who helped discover, develop and advance Gardasil(r), a breakthrough vaccine from Merck & Co., Inc. that can help prevent cervical cancer. (See footnote for more detailed description.) Cancer vaccines represent an emerging type of biological therapy.

With 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer and 250,000 deaths from it each year worldwide, human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and the resulting cancers are a major human health threat. HPV infection typically occurs in adolescent and young adult women.

"The recipients of these awards should all be proud that they have played such an incredible role in advancing healthcare here in America and around the world. Millions of patients will live healthier, longer lives because of the critical research that was done by these dedicated researchers," says PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin. "These extraordinary honorees certainly deserve this recognition because they are the heroes behind a medicine that helps patients prevent a life-threatening cancer before it can get started."

PhRMA's Discoverers Award recognizes scientists whose research and development of medicines have greatly benefited mankind, and whose dedication to improving the quality of patients' lives exemplifies the best among research-based company scientists today.

Discoverers Award recipients are Merck's Eliav Barr, M.D., Vice President, Oncology Clinical Research, who led the team that developed Gardasil's clinical program; Merck's Barry Buckland, Ph.D., Vice President, Research, Bioprocess R&D, whose department developed ways to safely manufacture large, commercially viable amounts of the Gardasil vaccine; and Kathrin Jansen, Ph.D. (currently at Wyeth), who established Merck's basic research program for an HPV vaccine and played a central role in Gardasil's design.

"We are thrilled that the Merck scientists who worked on Gardasil are being recognized with such a prestigious honor," says Richard T. Clark, Merck Chairman, President and CEO. "We also congratulate the broader team whose hard work, determination and focus on innovation were so critical to the discovery and development of this vaccine."

"The talent, leadership and passion of these three scientists and the teams that worked with them were pivotal in the successful development of Gardasil," says Peter S. Kim, Ph.D., President, Merck Research Laboratories. "Their dedication is paying off by literally altering the course of human health around the world. This is a shining example of how Merck is delivering on our mission, and we are proud that PhRMA has recognized the outstanding work that led us to this point."

This year's winners of PhRMA's Clinical Trial Exceptional Service Award are Darron R. Brown, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology at Indiana University School of Medicine; Laura Koutsky, Ph.D., Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington in Seattle; and Susanne Krager Kjaer, M.D., Head of Department (Viruses, Hormones and Cancer) at the Danish Cancer Society's Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, Denmark. This award will be presented to researchers who helped make extraordinary advances in the clinical trials essential to the medicine's development.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.


Gardasil is approved for the prevention of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers caused by HPV types 16 and 18; genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11; and precancerous or dysplastic lesions caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 in girls and young women nine through 26 years of age.

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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