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Two CAR T drugs, awarded the Prix Galien France 2019 in the “Innovative therapy medicine” category


With two drugs already on the market, Kymriah from Novartis and Yescarta from Gilead, therapies based on CAR-T technology are just in their infancy. Actually, they are the winners of the Prix Galien France 2019 award in the “innovative therapy medicine” category.

The principle of CAR-T cells is to directly use the patient’s own immune cells and genetically modify them in order to recognize and destroy certain target cells, such as cancer cells. This personalized medicine technology makes it possible to individually manufacture a therapeutic solution for each patient. In practice, the patient’s T cells (immune cells) are genetically modified in a laboratory (ex vivo) to produce an artificial receptor called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). The extracellular part of the receptor will specifically recognize the target cell to be destroyed, while the intra-cellular part will activate the lymphocyte and destroy the target cell.

In the case of Yescarta indicated in the treatment of diffuse large B cell lymphomas and that of Kymriah indicated in the treatment of certain acute B lymphoblastic leukemias, T cells become capable of producing CAR directed against the CD19 protein located on the surface of cancer cells. When the modified T cells are reinjected into the patient, they will then recognize, activate and destroy the cancer cells.

Founded in 1970, the Prix Galien rewards scientific excellence and the latest innovation in medicine. Distinction of Yescarta and Kymriah as ” innovative therapy medicine” heralds the arrival of these new generation drugs marketed since 2017 in the United States and 2018 in France.

We are proud to have received this award which recognizes the therapeutic revolution and the tremendous hope that CAR-T bring to patients and healthcare professionals. The disposal of this innovation is the result of the continuous work of the research and production teams to develop the CAR-T as quickly as possible but also of all our teams in france which have enabled French patients to be the first in Europe to benefit from this treatment.

Michel Joly, President of Gilead France

Note also that among the 4 winners of the very emblematic Prix Galien France 2019 award, the gene therapy drug Luxturna from Novartis (indicated in the treatment of hereditary retinal dystrophies marketed since 2017) was also rewarded. Awards for these new types of therapeutic approaches fully illustrate the therapeutic revolution that has been taking place in recent years in favor of a “tailored” medicine for each patient.

Aurélie Laubier, PhD, Project manager DIM Thérapie Génique


Prix Galien France award

Egora article : Le prix Galien 2019 récompense 4 médicaments très innovants

Gazette du Laboratoire article : Le médicament de thérapie cellulaire CAR T de Gilead reçoit le prix Galien 2019 dans la catégorie « Médicament de thérapie innovante »

CAR-T cell therapy : how does it work? from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute