Gilead, Trimeris and Serono Honored with<br>James D. Watson Helix 2003 Award

  • Contact: Carrie Housman, (212) 872-7069
    Kathy Stover, (212) 872-7070
  • Recommend
  • Tweet
  • Print
  • Email

New York (February 27, 2003) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
and Long Island Life Sciences Initiative (LILSI) announced today the recipients of the James D. Watson Helix 2003 Award for corporate excellence during the annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference. The winning companies – Gilead Sciences, Inc., Trimeris, Inc., and Serono S.A. – were recognized by their biotechnology peers for their outstanding leadership, significant scientific and product advancements, economic development and solid corporate citizenry exhibited throughout the year.

“BIO has always sought to promote and recognize the highest standards of
achievement within the biotechnology industry,” said Carl B. Feldbaum, BIO president. “Each of the companies we’re honoring today exemplifies the industry’s efforts to use the tools of molecular biology to improve health-care.”

Since 1996, the Helix Award has been presented annually to biotechnology
companies that have demonstrated corporate excellence. This year, the award takes on particular significance as the biotechnology industry celebrates the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the structure for the DNA molecule – the double helix – that inspired the development of modern biology and helped bring about the biotechnology industry. In recognition of this discovery, the award bears the name of James D. Watson, the Nobel Laureate who is recognized globally for his role in the double helix discovery.

"The Helix Award, the biotech industry's most prestigious award for excellence, originated on Long Island and this year's re-naming of the award as the James D. Watson Helix Award is both an appropriate recognition of a man who spent much of his career as head of Cold Spring Harbor Labs, one of Long Island's exceptional academic research institutions, and a fitting reminder that we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the seminal discovery that in no small way paved the way for the development of our industry" stated Colin Goddard, Ph.D., CEO of OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Melville, N.Y.

Gilead Takes Award for Large-cap Category

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) was recognized for its accomplishments in
the large-capitalization category. In 2002, Gilead received European Union approval of its HIV drug Viread® and U.S. approval of HepseraTM, its novel antiviral for chronic hepatitis B. With the anticipated approval of emtricitabine later in 2003, Gilead is on track to launch a third drug within two years. In addition to significant scientific and product advancements, Gilead is addressing the global AIDS pandemic by increasing access to Viread in those areas of the world where the need for HIV medication is greatest.

"I am honored to accept this award on behalf of my colleagues and the healthcare
professionals and patients to whom we seek to bring advanced therapeutics," said John C. Martin, Ph.D., president and CEO of Gilead Sciences, Foster City, Calif. "Our company has grown significantly, bringing to market important new treatments for HIV and chronic hepatitis B within a year's time. I believe that our company and our industry will continue to make remarkable progress helping to provide new options that improve the health and lives of people everywhere."

Trimeris Wins Mid-cap Category

Trimeris, Inc. (Nasdaq: TRMS) received the James D. Watson Helix 2003 Award for the mid-capitalization category. The company is focused on the discovery and development of treatments for viral disease and is poised to launch its first product, FUZEONTM, for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, in the coming months. Trimeris’ second product candidate, T-1249, is expected to advance to Phase II trials later this year.

“On behalf of my colleagues at Trimeris, we are truly honored to receive this important award recognizing our scientific and clinical accomplishments,” said Dani Bolognesi, Ph.D., CEO and chief scientific officer of Trimeris, Inc., Durham, N.C. “2002 was a pivotal year for our company and our collaboration partner, Roche, as we jointly achieved critical milestones that will pave the way for the commercialization of our first product candidate, FUZEONTM, for the treatment of HIV disease.”

“It means a great deal to us to know we have the support of our industry
peers and BIO as we strive to develop new medicines for life-threatening diseases like AIDS where patients are in desperate need of new treatment options. Also, we look forward to the fulfillment of the great promise that the biotechnology industry holds for addressing unmet medical needs,” added Dr. Bolognesi.

Serono Captures the International Category

Serono, (NYSE: SRA and virt-x: SEO) the world’s third largest biotechnology company, had an outstanding year. 2002 achievements include the approval of Rebif®, its multiple sclerosis drug, in the United States. Serono has a number of other recombinant products on the market internationally, including Gonal-F® in reproductive health, Saizen® for growth hormone deficiency, and Serostim® in AIDS wasting. The company is also poised to enter the therapeutic area of psoriasis.

“Serono is dedicated to bringing the best of biotech to people and improving the lives of patients around the world,” said Ernesto Bertarelli, CEO of Serono S.A., Geneva, Switzerland. “We’re delighted that Serono’s unique international capabilities have been recognized and honored by our peers.”

About the Sponsors

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions
and state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. For more information, please visit www.bio.org.

The Long Island Life Sciences Initiative (LILSI) is a not-for-profit regional trade
association created to addressing issues of strategic importance to the growth of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and life science technology sectors on Long Island. LILSI advocates on behalf of public policy that will improve the Long Island region's business climate for life science companies and enhance the research and business infrastructure that is vital to their success. More information on LILSI can be found at www.lilsi.org.

The Center for Biotechnology is a New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Medical Biotechnology. The Center was established in 1983 as a cooperative research and development partnership between universities, private industry, and New York State. Its goal has been to capitalize on the resources of New York’s medical biotechnology research for the purpose of fueling economic development in New York State. More information can be found at www.biotech.sunysb.edu.

SUNY Stony Brook has assumed an important role in the development of Long
Island’s biotechnology industry through its Center for Advanced Technology in Medical Biotechnology and the Long Island High Technology Incubator program. Collectively, they have supported the establishment of more than 70 high technology companies. Additional information on the university can be accessed at www.biotech.sunysb.edu.

# # #


About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.