Dr. Napoleone Ferrara Wins 2011 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research Discovery Unlocked Key to Novel Anti-angiogenesis Therapies

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson & Johnson today announced the winner of the 2011 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research during the BIO International Convention (BIO) in Washington D.C.  Napoleone Ferrara, M.D., is the seventh leading scientist to win the Award, which honors a scientist or team of scientists whose contributions have the potential to significantly improve the health and lives of people around the world.  Dr. Ferrara was selected by an independent committee of eight renowned scientists, including Nobel Laureates, Lasker Prize winners, and others, for his research on angiogenesis, the process of new blood vessel formation that plays a key role in cancer proliferation and a number of other diseases.  Dr. Ferrara's discoveries opened the door to the development of a new class of therapeutics to combat a serious eye disorder and contributed to the development of new oncology therapeutics.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110628/NY27595-a )

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110628/NY27595-b )

"With the 2011 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, Johnson & Johnson recognizes Dr. Ferrara for the meaningful impact his discoveries have had on the lives of patients all over the world," said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson.  "Like Dr. Paul Janssen, Dr. Ferrara is a visionary who brings passion, commitment to excellence and a spirit of collaboration to the vitally important work of scientific discovery and pharmaceutical research."

Dr. Ferrara's lab isolated and cloned vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a major regulator of angiogenesis in physiology and disease, and helped elucidate the role of the factor and its receptors in the development of tumors.  Dr. Ferrara's findings resulted in the development of a new class of treatments, anti-VEGF compounds, which inhibit the growth of new blood vessels.  His discoveries led to the development of ranibizumab (trade name Lucentis®), a treatment that can help halt and even reverse vision loss in the many patients who experience severe vision loss or blindness caused by the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  This advancement also helped foster the clinical development of bevacizumab (trade name Avastin®), an anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody for the treatment of cancer.

"Dr. Ferrara's discovery of VEGF transformed what we know about blood vessel development," said Solomon Snyder, M.D., Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Chairman, Janssen Award Selection Committee.  "His research has changed many lives by engendering the development of landmark treatments in the fields of oncology and ophthalmology."

"I am honored to be selected as this year's winner of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award," said Dr. Ferrara.  "Dr. Janssen was one of the world's most inspiring and creative scientists.  Like he was, I am passionate about the work I do, and I believe we have a great opportunity in the scientific community to address unmet needs through dedication and innovative research.  I am delighted to take part in the development of treatments that are able to provide hope and relief to patients around the world."

The Award, which includes a $100,000 prize, will be presented to Dr. Ferrara in a ceremony in New York, New York on September 13 and 14 and in Beerse, Belgium on September 15.

A special press event to honor Dr. Ferrara will be held at the Biotechnology Industry Organization Annual Convention Wednesday, June 29 at 9:30 a.m. in Press Room 208B. Dr. Ferrara and Dr. Stoffels will discuss the future of biomedical innovation and provide opportunity for Q&A.

Dr. Ferrara has previously received prestigious honors and awards, including the 2010 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, the Prize for Research in Ophthalmic Disorders from AIRCMO, the Italian Association for Ophthalmic Research, the American-Italian Cancer Foundation Prize for Scientific Excellence in Medicine, the Bruce F. Cain Memorial Award from the American Association for Cancer Research, the Grand Prix Lefoulon-Delalande-Institut de France Award and the General Motors Cancer Research Award.

About The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

Known to his colleagues as "Dr. Paul," Janssen was one of the 20th century's most gifted and passionate researchers.  He helped save millions of lives through his contribution to the discovery and development of more than 80 medicines, four of which remain on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines.  The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research was established by Johnson & Johnson to honor the memory of Dr. Paul.  Past winners include Craig Mello, Marc Feldmann, Sir Ravinder Maini, Axel Ullrich, Erik De Clercq and Anthony S. Fauci.  Learn more at www.pauljanssenaward.com.

About the Selection Committee

The Dr. Paul Janssen Award independent Selection Committee is composed of some of the world's leading scientists, including National Medal of Science winners, Nobel Laureates, members of the National Academy of Sciences and past winners of The Dr. Paul Janssen Award. The 2011 Selection Committee includes:

  • Solomon Snyder, M.D., (chairman) distinguished service professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; co-winner, 1978 Albert Lasker Award; winner, 2003 National Medal of Science (United States)
  • Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., American Cancer Society Professor of Medicine and Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle; member, National Academy of Sciences; member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Robert S. Langer Jr., ScD, David H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 2006 National Medal of Science winner; Charles Stark Draper Prize winner; 2008 Millennium Prize winner; member, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine
  • Jean Marie Lehn, Ph.D., professor, College de France; winner, 1987 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (France)
  • Craig Mello, Ph.D., professor, Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School and investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; 2006 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine; 2006 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research winner
  • Sir Richard Sykes, Ph.D., chair, National Health Service, London; former rector Imperial College London; former chief executive officer, GlaxoWellcome; fellow of the Royal Society; honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (United Kingdom)
  • Axel Ullrich, Director, Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Germany; winner, 2009 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research; 2010 Wolf Prize winner
  • Huda Zoghbi, M.D., Professor, Baylor College of Medicine; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; member, National Academy of Science and the Institute of Medicine; member, Lasker Award jury; E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research winner

About Johnson & Johnson

Caring for the world, one person at a time... inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. We embrace research and science - bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people.  Our approximately 119,400 employees at more than 250 Johnson & Johnson companies work with partners in healthcare to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world.

SOURCE Johnson & Johnson




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