Cariprazine is an original atypical antipsychotic developed in Hungary, which was granted a marketing authorisation in the United States under the brand name Vraylar in 2015 for the treatment of schizophrenia and the manic or mixed episodes associated with type I bipolar disorder, and in 2019 for bipolar depression. In 2017, it was registered in 28 Member States of the European Union under the brand name Reagila for the treatment of schizophrenia.
The Evaluation Committee invited by the management of MFT – the body that submits the proposal, based on which the management of MFT and the General Assembly decides on the award by secret ballot – recommended Reagila for the Medicine of the Year 2019 Award primarily due to its special mechanism of action and added value in domestic research and development.
Dr Péter Ferdinandy, President of the Hungarian Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Vice-Rector of Science and Innovation at Semmelweis University, noted the following at the awards ceremony held at Semmelweis University: "Cariprazine is a drug with a unique range of uses, its efficacy has been demonstrated not only in the treatment of the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia but also in the therapy for mixed episodes of acute manic disorder, acute depression and acute bipolar disorder in clinical trials, and the spectrum of its side effects is also very favourable. For many years, cariprazine has been the first truly Hungarian drug, the discovery and development of which are associated with the researchers of Richter Gedeon Plc. The product has been integrated in patient care worldwide, it is expected to have a great future and it has rightly earned the award of the Medicine of the Year in Hungary."
Upon receiving the award, Erik Bogsch, Chairman of the Board of Gedeon Richter Plc noted: "I think this award goes to show that special attention must be paid to research and development activities, which enables us to create high intellectual added value for the country, which, in turn, is one of the key elements in maintaining and increasing competitiveness. The success of cariprazine goes well beyond Richter. It also has historical significance for the Hungarian pharmaceutical industry and medicine, as it is the first original product developed in Hungary to be introduced on the US market. It is a great pleasure for us that since October 2018, our unique drug, which is the result of 18 years of research and development, has become available to Hungarian patients with price subsidy,."
The cariprazine molecule was discovered by Richter researchers in the early 2000s and was further developed in collaboration with Forest Laboratories (later Actavis, Allergan, then Abbvie). Since its launch in March 2016, more than 320,000 patients have been treated with it and more than 2 million prescriptions have been made in the US. The antipsychotic is already available in 26 countries worldwide, in 21 of them, including Hungary, with price subsidy. Recently, Richter has also entered into a number of licensing agreements with local partners that will make cariprazine available on major markets around the world.
The success of the product has already been verified by prestigious awards: in March 2018, the Hungarian Innovation Foundation granted the Innovation Award to Richter Gedeon Plc, and in the fall of 2019, Reagila was awarded the Galenus von Pergamon Prize in the specialist care category, also known as the unofficial "Nobel Prize" in pharmacology in Germany.
About the Medicine of the Year Award and the Hungarian Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology
The Hungarian Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology (MFT) is a non-profit association founded in 1962 by leading Hungarian pharmacologists. The aim of the Society is to develop pharmacology and clinical pharmacology, as well as domestic drug research and innovation (including preclinical and clinical development and testing of medical devices and their drug combinations), to create an organizational framework for coordination, to promote the undergraduate and postgraduate training of specialists, to support the study of all branches of pharmacology, and to establish national and international professional forums to discuss and publicise its results. More information at www.huphar.org.
The Medicine of the Year Award was established by MFT in 1997 with the intention of using its professional prestige to promote a noble cause, the spread of the most advanced, most effective and most patient-friendly pharmaceutical products in the treatment of patients in Hungary. Pharmaceutical manufacturers and/or distributors registered in Hungary can apply for the Medicine of the Year competition with a medicinal product that has a marketing authorisation in the EU and/or Hungary.
In order to evaluate the submitted applications, the management of MFT sets up an Evaluation Committee to prepare an expert opinion, which is also based on the opinion of external experts. Based on this evaluation, the management of MFT submits a proposal, by secret ballot, on granting the Award, and the final decision is made by the General Meeting.
Evaluation criteria: novelty of the mechanism of action; pioneering chemical and/or biological scientific discovery; whether the medicine fills a gap in Hungary in the given therapeutic area; favourable side effects and interaction profiles; favourable metabolism and pharmacokinetic properties; better therapeutic efficacy; cost-effective, user-friendly product; added value in domestic research and development; domestic market turnover.