What You Must Know

The Prix Galien was created in 1970 in honor of Galien, the father of medical science and modern pharmacology by the French Pharmacist, Roland Mehl. The Prix Galien recognizes outstanding achievements in improving the global human condition through the development of innovative drugs, technologies, and other treatments. The Prix Galien is the world’s highest independent distinction that awards the most critical products introduced in the public market and achievements of the best research teams in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical technology, and digital health industries. In 50 years, the Prix Galien has recognized 288 innovative products from 88 companies in 15 countries. The Prix Galien is regarded as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in biopharmaceutical research (Hall of Fame)

The Prix Galien was created in honor of Galien of Pergamum (131-201 A.D.), who is considered the forefather of modern medicine and pharmacology. His work as an anatomist, physiologist, clinician, and researcher formed the basis of a school of thought known as “Galenism”, which dominated medicine until the Renaissance. 

His works served as primary medical references for nearly two centuries. Galien completed over five hundred learned works addressing anatomy, physiology, pathology, medical theory and practice, and many forms of therapy. He traveled the world, studied local plants and remedies, eventually describing 473 original drugs and many substances of mineral and vegetable origin. Most importantly, Galien was the first to codify the art of preparing active drugs using multiple ingredients. His declaration that the primary aim of medicine was patient care formed the very cornerstone of modern pharmacy.

The Galien Foundation is a U.S. 501(c)(3) foundation fostering, recognizing, and rewarding excellence in scientific innovation that improves human health. The Galien Foundation serves as a vehicle for the open exchange of ideas that drive science and innovations. The Galien Foundation aims to catalyze the next generation of innovative treatments and technologies to improve the health and life of patients with unmet medical needs.

The Galien Foundation was founded in 2009 with 1986 Nobel Peace Laureate Pr. Elie Wiesel (19282016) as the Founding Honorary President. President Joe Biden named Pr. Wiesel one of the “two greatest personalities of the 20th century” alongside Nelson Mandela. President Barack Obama referred to Pr. Elie Wiesel as “one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the World”. 

The Chairman of the Foundation is Mr. Bruno Cohen, a pioneer in affinity scientific communities and telemedicine, and an Officer of the French Legion of Honor. He has worked with Pr. Wiesel for 25 years and continues to dedicate his life to promote the Prix Galien globally.

The Prix Galien was awarded for the first time in France in 1970. Prix Galien is considered the most prestigious award of its kind in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. The Prix Galien is awarded for the African continent and in 14 active member nations: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. China will celebrate its first Prix Galien award ceremony at the end of 2021.

In each member nation, the Prix Galien Award Committee is composed of up to thirteen individuals, part of an unrivaled network of top biomedical scientists including Nobel Laureates in medicine. In addition to outstanding academic credentials, Committee members have demonstrated unparalleled expertise in and understanding of human therapeutics and healthcare issues. In consultation with the Committee, the Board selects the Award Committee Chair to serve a three-year term. Committee members will generally serve a six-year term, renewable once.

The Award Committee members awards prizes in the following categories: A- Best Pharmaceutical Product; B- Best Biotechnological Product; C- Best Medical Technology (e.g. medical device, diagnostic); D- Best Digital Health Product. 

The Prix Galien Africa includes an additional category: Best Traditional Therapy Product.

Eligibility criteria for biomedical products and innovations depend on the rules set by each member nation. Generally, eligible products must have been approved by the member nation health authorities and available on the domestic market. Award Committees do not take into consideration the size of the market or company, the cost of development or the contingencies of distribution.

The application window lasts for several months and varies for every member nation.

Award Committees review applications submitted by companies and researchers to determine which products will receive a prize based on two criteria: 

  • What was innovative during this product’s scientific development, application, or clinical utility? 
  • What was learned for the future of biomedical science from this product’s introduction to the clinic? 

Award Committees can decide not to award the Prix Galien in a category in any given year.

The Prix Galien winners are announced during the Award Ceremony hosted in the member nation. The Prix Galien Award Ceremonies are held throughout the year. Their date varies for each member nation. 

The Award Ceremony for the Prix Galien USA and Prix Galien Africa are organized closely with their respective Galien Forum held annually in New York City, NY, and Dakar, Senegal.

All Prix Galien award winners retrace the great History of the Life sciences industry. Companies that have received the most Prix Galien Awards are Merck & Co (64 medals), Novartis (57 medals), Roche (50 medals), GSK (40 medals), and Pfizer (34 medals). The full list is available here.

Many commonly-known innovations that have received the Prix Galien Award, including:

  • Zocor® from Merck & Co, a drug that treats cholesterol by reducing the amount of “bad” cholesterol. (Prix Galien Europe, Spain, and UK 1991)
  • Gleevec® from Novartis, a treatment used for certain leukemias and other cancers that prevents the growth of proteins in cancer cells. (Prix Galien Canada 2003; Prix Galien Foundation “Discovery of the Decade” Award)
  • Herceptin® from Roche, the first drug to treat breast cancer designed to target and stop the function of HER2, a protein found in excessive amounts on some breast cancer cells. (Prix Galien Belgium and Netherlands 2001; Prix Galien UK 2002)
  • Shingrix® from GSK, a vaccine that prevents shingles (aka herpes zoster) in adults aged 50 years and older. (Prix Galien Canada, Germany, and USA 2019)
  • Prevnar® from Pfizer, a pediatric vaccine against pneumococcal bacteria causing pneumonia. (Prix Galien Europe 2003, Prix Galien USA 2011, Prix Galien Russia and Poland 2012)
  • Gardasil® from Sanofi-Pasteur MSD, the first vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cervical cancer. (Prix Galien International 2008)

Visit the Prix Galien Hall of Fame on our website for all the winners since 1970.

The companies and individuals awarded the Prix Galien Award receive the Galien medal and a certificate of recognition for their work from the Galien Foundation. They also become part of the prestigious Prix Galien community. The Prix Galien does not include a monetary award.

The Prix Galien Award is a medal designed by Albert de Jaeger (1908–1992), laureate of the Premier Grand Prix de Rome architectural prize. De Jaeger designed medals for prominent figures such as Pope Pius XII and Pope Jean-Paul I, Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, distinguished military, the Weizmann Institute, artists including Marcel Proust, Nobel Prize Laureates and royalty. De Jaeger was also the architect of numerous outstanding monuments in France and worldwide.

The Prix Galien International was created in 1990 and is organized every two years. It is a competition between all the innovations awarded a national Prix Galien in the past two years to gain international recognition as the most innovative product. The Prix Galien International, chaired by Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, is awarded in four categories: A- Best Pharmaceutical Product; B- Best Biotechnology Product; and C- Best Medical Technology; D- Best Digital Health Solutions.

The International Committee is composed of Chairs from member nations. The Prix Galien International used to be held in Europe and North America. Following the recommendation from Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Chair of the Prix Galien USA and International, the Prix Galien International is hosted permanently in Africa since 2018.

The Pro Bono Humanum Award for Global Health Equity honors an individual, company, academic institution or non-governmental agency that has helped improve the human condition using biopharmaceutical science to solve issues faced by underserved populations worldwide. Since its inception in 2007, 1986 Nobel Peace Laureate Pr. Elie Wiesel (19282016) personally presented this Award and attended every ceremony during his lifetime. 

In 2018, the Award was named the Roy Vagelos Pro Bono Humanum Award for Global Health Equity. Dr. P. Roy Vagelos is an eminent biochemist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. His invaluable contribution in improving people’s lives through leadership and medical innovations is widely recognized. Dr. Vagelos was the first recipient of the Pro Bono Humanum Award for Global Health Equity and chaired the Prix Galien USA Committee from 2012 until 2017.

Recipients of this Award include Dr. William H. Foege, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director; Jim and Marilyn Simons the Simons foundation; Bill and Melinda Gates. 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; jimmy Carter, former U.S. president & co-founder, the carter center; Paula s. Apsell, executive producer, pbs nova series & director, science unit, wgbh; Pr. Mary-Claire King, professor, genome sciences and medical genetics, university of Washington; Dr. Bernard Kouchner co-founder, doctors without border & former French minister of foreign and European affairs; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, U.S. national institute of allergy and infectious diseases; Dr. Francis s. Collins, director, U.S. national institutes of health; Pr. Paul Farmer chief strategist and co-founder, partners in health; Bill Clinton, Clinton foundation and former U.S. president and Philippe Douste-Blazy founder, chairman, UNITAID; Barry Bloom, professor of public health, Harvard university and Jeffrey Sachs; director, earth institute, Columbia university; Sheldon Segal and the population council former chairman, population council; P. Roy Vagelos, retired chairman and CEO Merck & co., inc.; chairman of the board Regeneron pharmaceuticals.

For 50 years, the Prix Galien has recognized excellence in biopharmaceutical and med-tech innovations to bring new therapies for patients with unmet medical needs. To celebrate the anniversary of the creation of Prix Galien, the Galien Foundation created the Golden Jubilee Awards to honor the top 10 innovations since 1970 as the “global best of the very best”. 

These innovations will be classified into five categories: A- Pharmaceutical; B- Biotechnology; C- Orphan and Rare diseases; D- Vaccines; and E- Medical technology products. Award Committee members from all our member nations will vote to select the top 10 innovations in the past 50 years amongst 250 Prix Galien winner products developed by 88 innovative companies.

The Golden Jubilee Awards will be announced on December 11, 2021 in Dakar, Senegal. Expected attendees include H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Senegalese Republic, African heads of state, ministers of health, the WHO Director-General, hundreds of scientists, and industry and innovation leaders.

The Galien Forum is a unique platform that brings together key opinion leaders from academia, Nobel Laureates, eminent researchers and practitioners, top policymakers, and leading industry executives to discuss the most critical, global healthcare issues and challenges of our time. Two Galien Forums are organized annually. Since 2010, the Galien Forum USA is held in New York City, NY in October. Since 2018, the Galien Forum Africa is hosted in Dakar, Senegal in December.

Created in 2014 by the Galien Foundation in cooperation with BusinessFrance, the Prix Galien MedStartUp is a separate entity from the Prix Galien USA. Galien MedStartUp fosters private-sector collaborations with the focal point of including the most innovative start-up companies. It aims at strengthening commercial partnerships that bridge the traditional silos between government, industry, and academia; defraying the growing complexity and cost burden of medicines R&D; and promoting cross-border trade, jobs, and economic growth. 

Galien MedStartUp is a program with 40% of its 270 alumni based in the USA. The Prix Galien MedStartUp is held every year in October during the Galien Forum USA. The Prix Galien MedStartUp Jury, chaired by Mr. Bernard Poussot, nominates candidates in three categories: A- Best Collaboration in the Pharmaceutical or Biotechnology industry; B- Best Collaboration in the MedTech or Digital Health sector; and C- Best Collaboration dedicated to the developing or underserved populations worldwide.

Every year, the Galien Young African Scientists Initiative (GYASI) recognizes the excellence of 50-100 students in medical, pharmacy, economic and broader health studies. Deans from major African universities select 10 of their most promising students to attend the annual Galien Forum Africa and the Prix Galien Africa held in Dakar, Senegal.

Since its creation, GYASI has supported 200 young African scientists, half of whom were women, from 20 universities. In 2021, GYASI students will come from universities of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Rwanda, and South Africa. This program is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Galien Foundation members.

The Jerusalem Ethics Forum was created in 2019 by The Galien Foundation, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, and the CURA Foundation. Launched in the presence of Mrs. Marion Wiesel, this meeting platform contributes to the legacy of Pr. Elie Wiesel to ask the right questions and seek the right answers to ensure ethical and transparent research for the best interests of Humanity. 

Many ethical questions in modern medicine have not changed since the days of the ancient physician philosopher Galien, whom the Galien Foundation is named after. The Jerusalem Ethics Forum focuses on high-level exchanges on ethical and philosophical issues society faces today, with a commonsense approach to challenges linked to health equity in an era of transformative science. 

As the world of economics and finance has done with the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, The Jerusalem Ethics Forum convenes academia, multilateral institutions, medical ethics specialists, representatives from health care and biopharmaceutical industries, and religious authorities to assess the state of progress in medical research and promote the ethical practice of healthcare and medicine worldwide.

By joining the Galien Foundation, you will become a valued part of an elite community committed to scientific innovation and the improvement of human health. There are two ways you can support the Galien Foundation: as an individual member or as an institution or company proud partner.

Your membership has a direct impact on supporting young scientists. Membership dues help fund programs to recognize and encourage young researchers from all over the world to foster scientific innovation to advance human health, such as the Galien Young African Scientists Initiative (GYASI). GYASI is a grant program established by the Galien Foundation in 2018 that provides promising African scientists with networking opportunities and exposes them to regionally and internationally renowned scientists, Nobel Laureates, and industry and policy leaders.