The Society for Medicines Research believe that outstanding contributions, achievements and inventions in the world of drug discovery and development should be recognised and celebrated. To achieve this goal the SMR instigated its own symbol of recognition, the SMR Award for Drug Discovery. Recipients are individual scientists, or teams of scientists, duly acknowledged for their contribution by the scientific community. The multidisciplinary nature of the achievement is inherent in this award. With members from all disciplines of drug research, we are proud to recognise the successes of others in order to help the individuals and their host institution gain the reward and acclaim they deserve from within the pharmaceutical world. There are still very few prizes of this kind in the drug discovery area and we believe that the multidisciplinary nature of the SMR adds to the recognition status of this award, making it significantly different from those awards that recognise achievements within a single discipline. Until 2001, the Award recognised only those contributions emanating from within the UK. With increasing globalisation of R&D and the SMR increasing its popularity throughout the world by attracting international speakers at scientific meetings, and through the broadcasting of archive web-casts of its meetings, this UK-only position was believed to be unsustainable. Thus, beginning in 2003, the Award was made open to non-UK scientists.

SMR Award Winner 2016

The Society for Medicines Research 2016 SMR Award for Drug Discovery was awarded to the Bristol-Myers Squibb team responsible for OPDIVO® (nivolumab), a fully human anti-programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) antibody approved to treat several cancers. Immunotherapies, such as nivolumab, have revolutionized the treatment of cancer in recent years.

The SMR Award was received by Dr Francis Cuss, Executive Vice President & CSO R&D, Bristol-Myers Squibb on 1st December 2016 at the National Heart and Lung Institute, London, UK at the ‘Recent Disclosures of Clinical Candidates’ meeting. Dr Cuss delivered a fascinating SMR Award Lecture entitled: ‘The Discovery, Development and Delivery of Opdivo’.

Past winners of the award:

1983       Mr Peter Doyle (Beecham) Augmentin
1985 Dr David Jack (Glaxo) Salbutamol
1987 Prof John Stenlake (University of Strathclyde) Atracurium
1989 Prof Sir James Black, in association with Dr Albert Crowther & Prof Robin Ganellin (ICI and SK&F) Beta-blockers and H2 antagonists
1991 Drs Dutta, Furr and Hutchinson (ICI) Zoladex
1993 Dr Ken Richardson (Pfizer) Fluconazole
1995 Prof Pat Humphrey (Glaxo) Sumatriptan
1997 Drs Duncan, Redshaw and Roberts (Roche) Saquinavir
1999 Dr David Tupper, Mr Terence Hotten and Dr Nicholas Moore (Eli Lilly) Olanzapine
2001 Dr Michael Cawthorne, Dr Stephen Smith, Dr Barrie Cantello, Mr Richard Hindley and Dr David Haigh (GlaxoSmithKline) Rosiglitazone (Avandia)
2003 Dr Juerg Zimmermann, Dr Elisabeth Buchdunger, Dr Ulrike Pfaar, Dr Peter Graf, Dr John Ford and Dr Renaud Capdeville (Novartis) Glivec (imatinib)
2006 Napoleone Ferrara (Genentech) Avastin (bevacizumab)
2009 Dr Emma Parmee (Merck) Januvia
2012 Dr Peter Mueller (Vertex Pharmaceuticals) Telaprevir
2014 Dr Betty Chang (Pharmacyclics) Imbruvica (Ibrutinib)