This year's prestigious Canadian Prix Galien for Innovative Product Award has been presented to Esbriet® (pirfenidone), a medicine used to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). It is the only medication approved in Canada with a specific IPF indication and is approved for mild to moderate IPF in adults.
IPF is a progressive, debilitating and ultimately fatal lung disease with no known cause. It is characterized predominantly by fibrosis (scarring) of the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs. In patients with IPF, the lung tissue becomes scarred. Over time, as the scarring becomes thicker and more widespread, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. The disease is more common in men than women and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 80 years. Based on data from the US and Europe, it is estimated that 5,000 to 8,000 Canadians suffer from IPF, with 3,000 to 5,000 having mild to moderate disease, and 3,000 Canadians die each year from the disease.
Esbriet® was developed by InterMune, Inc., a biotechnology company that was recently internationally acquired by Roche.
"We are honoured the Prix Galien has recognized the important role Esbriet® can play in treating many Canadian patients living with IPF, a disease that has limited treatment options and a poor prognosis," says Ronnie Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer, Roche Canada. "As a company, we are committed to advancing science that brings a benefit to patients, whether that happens through our own productive pipeline or mergers with companies such as InterMune."
"We are humbled and proud to have received the acknowledgement, and to have been of service to patients and healthcare providers," says Michael Cloutier, President and General Manager, InterMune Canada.