Cardiovascular drug mavacamten awarded Drug Discovery of the Year Award 2024

A team from Bristol Myers Squibb are the winners of the 2024 Sir James Black Drug Discovery of the Year Award, with their drug mavacamten for obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

The prize, which is awarded by the British Pharmacological Society (BPS), recognises the achievements of the teams behind new drugs which could have significant benefit to wider society.
The 2024 winner, mavacamten, is a first-in-class myosin inhibitor designed to treat patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), an often inherited heart condition which causes the heart muscle wall to become thickened, blocking the flow of blood from the heart. 1 in 500 people in the UK are affected by the disease which can result in debilitating symptoms and there is currently no cure.
Mavacamten works by targeting the underlying cause of obstructive HCM. The drug binds to myosin, preventing it from attaching to actin, which reduces the excessive connections between these two proteins. As a result, the heart muscle is able to relax, improving the symptoms of the disease. Mavacamten has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of symptomatic (New York Heart Association, NYHA, class 2 to 3) obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in adult patients. New European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines also indicate that mavacamten should be considered in patients with HCM as a second-line treatment when optimal standard care is ineffective or poorly tolerated.
The BPS’ Industry Sub-committee is the judging panel for the award and is comprised of experts across the pharmaceutical industry including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Contract Research Organisations. A key focus of the group is showcasing the important contributions of industry scientists to developments in healthcare, which this award promotes and recognises.
Steve Rees, Senior Vice President within Discovery Sciences, R&D, AstraZeneca, member of the awarding panel and BPS Industry Trustee said:
“The drug discovery of the year award recognises the discovery of first-in-class medicines with the potential to transform the treatment of disease. This year the Society is proud to recognise the work of the cardiovascular team at BMS for the discovery and development of mavacamten, a first-in-class myosin inhibitor with the potential to transform the treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
"The panel were blown away by the high-quality pharmacology and significant impact to patients of the discovery - many congratulations to the team for the discovery of this innovative medicine.”
Dr Hosnieh Fathi, Country Medical Director UK & Ireland, Bristol Myers Squibb, said: “We feel deeply honoured to have received the Drug Discovery of the Year award. This achievement serves as further testament to our unwavering commitment to delivering innovative therapies that bring real impact to patients affected by cardiovascular diseases. We would like to thank and further congratulate our talented teams across R&D whose united efforts led to this moment.”

The winning team from Bristol Myers Squibb will receive their award and host a prize lecture at the British Pharmacological Society’s 2024 annual meeting, which will take place in Harrogate on 10-12 December 2024.

Read more about the Sir James Black Drug Discovery of the Year award and its previous winners.

Published: 18 Oct 2023 in Society news