Biotech's Helix Award Honors Top Performers Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Actelion

NEW YORK (February 25, 2004) - Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Actelion Ltd. have won the 2004 James D. Watson Helix Awards. The winners, selected by peer vote on the basis of their 2003 performance, are being honored today at a BIO CEO & Investor Conference plenary luncheon.

"These companies exemplify the ideals of the Helix Award, the biotechnology industry's highest company honor," said BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum. "In 2003, both advanced new therapies for unmet medical needs and delivered outstanding returns to investors."

During 2003, the winner in the mid-cap company category, Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ONXX), focused its resources to rapidly advance the clinical development of its lead compound, an oral cancer product now in Phase III testing for kidney cancer.

"We are humbled and honored to have been selected by our industry peers for this prestigious award," said Hollings C. Renton, Onyx's president and CEO. "Together with our collaborator, Bayer, we made important scientific and clinical progress with our lead anti-cancer compound, BAY 43-9006, culminating in the initiation of the first pivotal Phase III trial."

Actelion Ltd. (SWX: ATLN), the international winner, is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Allschwil, Switzerland. Actelion markets two products: Tracleer, an orally available endothelin receptor antagonist for pulmonary arterial hypertension, and Zavesca, an oral Gaucher's disease drug.

"Actelion is very proud to be recognized and honored by its peers in the United States for our work in helping to improve the health and lives of people everywhere," said CEO Jean-Paul Clozel, M.D. "2003 was a significant year for us as we achieved critical milestones by not only successfully supporting our products Tracleer and Zavesca in the market place, but also by achieving important milestones in research and clinical trials."

Genentech, of South San Francisco, received the Helix Award in the large-cap category Feb. 24.

The James D. Watson Helix Award honors leadership in three distinct areas: scientific innovation, company growth and corporate citizenship. It is presented by the Long Island Life Sciences Initiative (LILSI) and is jointly sponsored by BIO, Stony Brook University and The Center for Biotechnology.

The competition is open to public and private, U.S. or foreign-based biotechnology companies. An independent panel of judges reviewed this year's submissions.

LILSI is a not-for-profit trade association created to address issues of strategic importance to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and life science technology-based industries. 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

BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, 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