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Dr. Lindsay Machan & Dr. William Hunter

Location: Vancouver, BC

Award: Principal Award

Category:

Year: 2006

Innovation:

Developed a drug-delivery technique that has revolutionized the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD) and advanced the science of localized drug delivery. Over 1.8 million TAXUS TM paclitaxel-eluting stents were implanted in patients in the first two years after approval, helping treat CAD, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Read the News Release and Media Backgrounder for additional information.

News Release

Drug Delivering Stent a Breakthrough Treatment for Cardiovascular Disease

Vancouver researcher-physicians win top $100,000 Encana Principal Award

Calgary, AB (September 29th, 2006) — A combination stent-drug delivery vehicle developed by two Vancouver MDs is saving the lives of cardiovascular disease patients worldwide.

In recognition of their contribution, William Hunter, MD, and Lindsay Machan, MD, of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have won this year's $100,000 Encana Principal Award, sponsored by Encana Corporation—the top prize from the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation.

Hunter and Machan's invention, the TAXUS™ drug-eluting stent, props open clogged arteries and delivers medication to the blood vessel wall. The stent went on the world market in 2003 and made $2.6 billion in its first year of sales. In the United States alone, over one million people now receive a drug-eluting stent every year.

Angiotech's drug-eluting stent has revolutionized the treatment of coronary artery disease, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.

Following balloon angioplasty, stents are used to prop open arteries so that blood can flow to the heart. However, scar tissue often grows through the mesh of the stent and reblocks the artery.

The TAXUS™ stent solves this longstanding medical problem because the drug it releases prevents scar tissues from growing into the implant. Approximately 20 percent of patients with bare metal stents need to return for a repeat procedure, but the TAXUS™ stent is over 96 percent effective.

Hunter and a colleague in Hamilton did the groundwork to find a drug that would prevent scar tissue from reforming. The drug that worked best was paclitaxel, or Taxol®, an anti-cancer drug derived from the Pacific yew tree.

Hunter and Machan's innovation was not only finding the right drug, but also getting it onto the stent.

"The invention isn't the drug;" says Hunter, "the invention isn't the device...the invention is the combination of those two."

The TAXUS™ drug-eluting stent represents a transformation in drug delivery. Pharmaceuticals taken as pills, patches or injections typically enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, often affecting unintended targets. The drug-eluting stent is a system of targeted drug delivery, which puts pharmaceuticals right where they are needed, when they are needed—for example, at the time of surgery.

"We thought there was an opportunity here to take the drugs and administer them at the time of surgery to solve the problems that the surgeon was trying to solve," Hunter explains.

The same concept could be applied to the treatment of other diseases using various drugs. Notes Machan, "There are so many other drug-device combinations that are possible that can extend the same kinds of benefits to patients."

Machan adds that the drug-eluting stent significantly reduces the need for risky repeat surgeries, which benefits patients as well as the healthcare system.

Having grown up in small town Alberta, Machan says that recognition from the Manning Foundation is especially significant. "I am enormously proud to win a Manning Award," he says.

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

This year, the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation will award a total of $165,000 in prize money. Four awards, totaling $145,000, will go to leading Canadian innovators. Another $20,000 will go to Young Innovators with winning projects at the 2006 Canada-Wide Science Fair.

The winners of the 2006 Manning Innovation Awards will be announced throughout September. All will be honoured at the annual gala awards dinner, September 29th, 2006 in Calgary.

The Foundation was established in 1980 in the name of prominent Alberta statesman, Ernest C. Manning, to promote and support Canadian innovators. Since 1982, the Foundation has presented over $3.6 million in prize money through its annual awards program (www.manningawards.ca).

For more information on Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and the TAXUS™ drug-eluting stent, visit http://www.angiotech.com/ or contact Jodi Regts at 604-221-7930 to speak with Dr. William Hunter or Dr. Lindsay Machan

For more information about the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation, contact Bruce Fenwick, Executive Director, at 403-645-8288 or at bruce.fenwick@encana.com
 

 

 

Media Backgrounder

$100,000 Encana Principal Award

Sponsored by Encana Corporation

William Hunter and Lindsay Machan, Angiotech Pharmaceuticals™

Who?

  • William Hunter (MD, MSc), Co-Founder, President and CEO, Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Lindsay Machan (BMSc, MD, FRCPC), Co-Founder of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

What?

  • Machan and Hunter have won the $100,000 Encana Principal Award from the Manning Awards Foundation for inventing and developing the TAXUS™ drug-eluting stent; the new stent is a revolutionary treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD).

Where?

  • Angiotech Pharmaceuticals' world headquarters are in Vancouver, British Columbia, with 14 facilities in six countries and over 1,500 dedicated employees.
  • The TAXUS™ drug-eluting stent is available in Canada, the United States, Europe and other international markets.

When?

  • Angiotech was originally founded in 1992 on the University of British Columbia campus.
  • Human trials of the TAXUS™ stent began in October 2000.
  • The TAXUS™ drug-eluting stent was launched in the United States in 2004.

Why?

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, kills about 80,000 Canadians each year. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease.

Most cases of CAD are due to atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque in the blood vessels. When the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart become blocked, heart attack and other complications may result.

Decades ago, surgeons would perform open-heart surgery to create a bypass around a blocked portion of artery. The procedure was invasive, however, and recovery time was lengthy.

Balloon angioplasty to dilate blocked arteries was the first improvement over bypass surgery. Then, about 15 years ago, surgeons started using metal scaffolds, or stents, to keep arteries propped open following angioplasty.

"The problem was...the body knew a piece of stainless steel shouldn't be sitting in a valuable piece of anatomy," says William Hunter, co-inventor of the TAXUS™ drug-eluting stent. In approximately 20 to 25 percent of patients, scar tissue would grow through the scaffold and re-block the artery, a process called restenosis.

"It was time for innovation," says Lindsay Machan, a physician, UBC professor, and Hunter's co-inventor and business partner.

The TAXUS™ stent elutes the drug, paclitaxel, which prevents scar tissue from growing into the stent and re-clogging the artery. Patients with the drug-eluting stent avoid the trauma of repeat surgeries. The drug-eluting stent is even effective in diabetics, who have an especially high risk of restenosis.

By improving CAD patients' quality of life, the TAXUS™ drug-eluting stent is also saving health care dollars.

More Canadians die of cardiovascular disease than any other disease. Cardiovascular disease also costs the Canadian economy $18 billion a year.

How?

TAXUS™ stent co-inventors William Hunter and Lindsay Machan first hit on their idea for a drug-delivery device while Hunter was a third year medical student at the University of British Columbia.

In the early '90s, as part of his vascular rounds, Hunter was giving a talk on "a piece of esoteric science." Afterwards, Machan—reportedly the only member of the audience to stay awake—approached Hunter about putting their ideas together.

A drug-eluting stent would solve a longstanding medical problem—restenosis, the overgrowth of scar tissue into the very device meant to keep the artery unblocked.

"It was a simple concept," says Hunter, "but the execution of it was a fair bit more complicated."

The two researchers worked with Hunter's then-graduate supervisor, Larry Arsenault, at the University of British Columbia to develop the first incarnation of the TAXUS™ stent. In 1992 the three men founded the company that would become Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The three researchers then tested various drugs to find one that would inhibit restenosis. The most effective drug turned out to be paclitaxel (also known as Taxol®), an anti-cancer drug derived from the Pacific yew tree.

The next step was to devise a method to use the stent, itself, as a platform to deliver paclitaxel right to the blood vessel walls.

The idea of putting a drug and device together was very new, explains Machan. At the time, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration didn't even have an office to deal with the technology.

Eventually, however, Hunter and Machan were able to get the device companies' attention. Commercial development by Boston Scientific Inc. and Cook Inc. followed in 1997, and clinical trials began in 2000.

Human trials proved the system's efficacy, and as of November 2005, over 1.8 million TAXUS™ stents had been implanted in patients around the world.

"It's really amazing to me to see that in the last ten years, we've gone from being a couple of scientists doing some experiments to a company that people rely on as their place of employment..." says Machan, adding that "physicians around the world are using our product."

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

This year, the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation will award a total of $165,000 in prize money. Four awards, totaling $145,000, will go to leading Canadian innovators. Another $20,000 will go to Young Innovators with winning projects at the 2006 Canada-Wide Science Fair.

The Foundation was established in 1980 in the name of prominent Alberta statesman, Ernest C. Manning, to promote and support Canadian innovators. Since 1982, the Foundation has presented over $3.6 million in prize money through its annual awards program (www.manningawards.ca).