This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Learn more about cookies and how to manage them.

Drug Discovery of the Year

Published: in Prizes and awards

This award recognises the achievements of teams of scientists who discover new drugs, and highlights how crucial pharmacology is in the development of new medicines.


The award will be given to the discovery team behind a drug (large or small molecule) which is an exciting new prospect that best fulfils the following criteria:

  1. Gained regulatory approval within the last three years in the EU and/or the US
  2. Preclinical to clinical translation shows the importance of pharmacology in the drug discovery/development process
  3. Has a significant impact on an unmet medical need
  4. First-in-class, or is a significant improvement over other drugs in the class
  5. And, mechanism of action known

Previous winners

2022 Evrysdi

The 2022 award was given to Roche in collaboration with PTC Therapeutics and the SMA Foundation for Evrysdi® (risdiplam) – an oral treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Read more here.

2021 Givosiran

The Alnylam Pharmacueticals team was recognised for the development of Givosiran (Givlaari®) - an siRNA medicine for treatment of hepatic porphyria.
Read more here.

2020 Caplacizumab

Awarded for the development of Caplacizumab (Cablivi®), which was developed by Ablynx, and then acquired by Sanofi in 2018. Cablivi is a first in class nanobody therapy to treat adults with acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP), a rare life-threatening autoimmune blood-clotting disorder. 
Read more here.

2019 Hemlibra

Recognised the team of researchers from Roche, Chugai and Genentech responsible for the development of Hemlibra® a bispecific factor IXa- and factor X-directed antibody for the treatment of Haemophilia A.
Read more here.

2018 Strimvelis

Awarded to GlaxoSmithKline’s rare diseases division responsible for developing Strimvelis, a medicine used to treat adenosine deaminase (ADA) deficiency.
Read more here.

2017 Lumacraftor/Ivacraftor

Recognised the team at Vertex Pharmaceuticals responsible for the development of lumacraftor/ivacaftor, based on a novel, innovative pharmacological mechanism of action and treating a significant unmet medical need in patients suffering from Cystic Fibrosis.

2016 Sofosbuvir

Awarded to the Gilead team for the development of sofosbuvir a HCV polymerase inhibitor for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in adults.

2015 Obinutuzumab

Awarded to the team at Roche responsible for the development of obinutuzumab, based on high unmet need and novelty as the first glycoengineered, type 2 anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

2014 Mekinist

Recognised the team at GlaxoSmithKline responsible for the development of Mekinist (trametinib) a first-in-class MEK kinase inhibitor to demonstrate an unmet medical need for the treatment of advanced or unresectable melanoma, a disease for which standard chemotherapeutics are largely ineffective.

2013 Vismodegib

Awarded to the team at Genentech for the development of Erivedge® (vismodegib). Vismodegib is the first Hedgehog (Hh) pathway inhibitor approved for the treatment of adults with metastatic or locally advanced basal cell carcinoma (BCC).