WASHINGTON, June 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Five scientists have been named the recipients of the 32nd annual National Inventor of the Year Award for discovering and developing Zetia(R) (ezetimibe), a drug that can significantly impact the lives of 105 million American adults who risk heart disease due to high cholesterol. Presented by Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation (IPOEF), the award is the most prestigious of its kind, having gone previously to those responsible for the development of the Jarvik Seven Artificial Heart, Bose speaker technology and other patented breakthrough inventions. Drs. Duane Burnett, John Clader, Sundeep Dugar, Brian McKittrick, and Stuart Rosenblum were part of a Schering-Plough team responsible for the discovery and development of Zetia. Zetia is an innovative therapy representing the first new approach to reducing cholesterol levels since the discovery of statins more than 15 years ago. "These scientists' effort to create a drug that reduces cholesterol in a completely novel way highlights the value of creativity and the importance of patents," said Herbert C. Wamsley, executive director of IPO Education Foundation. "Without the security provided by a patent, the vital investments that went into the creation of Zetia may not have been preserved for patient benefit." Zetia lowers cholesterol levels by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine and thereby decreasing the amount of cholesterol absorbed into the body. This unique mechanism of action is complementary to that of statins, which inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver. "Nearly half of the American adult population is at risk because of high cholesterol levels," said Tim Elsner, Director of Communications at Mended Hearts, a nationwide heart patient support group affiliated with the American Heart Association. "Reducing these levels through lifestyle choices -- such as nutrition and physical activity -- and, when necessary, medication, is an essential step in controlling heart disease. We're pleased that IPO is recognizing the valuable contribution scientists make to advancing patient heath." CONTACT: Samantha Grover of the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation, +1-202-466-6730, Samantha@ipo.org; or Chris Roche of Brodeur Worldwide, +1-202-775-2675, firstname.lastname@example.org, for the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation.
SOURCE Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation