The Society for Medicines Research believe that outstanding contributions, achievements and inventions in the world of drug discovery and development should be recognised and celebrated. To achieve this goal the SMR instigated its own symbol of recognition, the SMR Award for Drug Discovery. Recipients are individual scientists, or teams of scientists, duly acknowledged for their contribution by the scientific community. The multidisciplinary nature of the achievement is inherent in this award. With members from all disciplines of drug research, we are proud to recognise the successes of others in order to help the individuals and their host institution gain the reward and acclaim they deserve from within the pharmaceutical world. There are still very few prizes of this kind in the drug discovery area and we believe that the multidisciplinary nature of the SMR adds to the recognition status of this award, making it significantly different from those awards that recognise achievements within a single discipline. Until 2001, the Award recognised only those contributions emanating from within the UK. With increasing globalisation of R&D and the SMR increasing its popularity throughout the world by attracting international speakers at scientific meetings, and through the broadcasting of archive web-casts of its meetings, this UK-only position was believed to be unsustainable. Thus, beginning in 2003, the Award was made open to non-UK scientists.

SMR Award Recipient 2021

The 2021 SMR Award for Drug Discovery was awarded to the collaborative teams at Roche, PTC Therapeutics and the SMA Foundation for the discovery of the drug Evrysdi® (risdiplam).

Dr Hasane Ratni, leader of the Drug Discovery Chemistry program at Roche that discovered risdiplam received the award on behalf of the team and delivered the award lecture ‘Discovery of risdiplam: a medicine for spinal muscular atrophy and the world’s first approved small molecule targeting RNA splicing’ at the online meeting.


Past recipients of the award:

2019 Dr Andrew Chan MD PhD (Genentech, Inc.) - OCREVUS (ocrelizumab)
2016 Dr Francis Cuss (Bristol-Myers Squibb) - Opdivo (nivolumab)
2014 Dr Betty Chang (Pharmacyclics) - Imbruvica (Ibrutinib)
2012 Dr Peter Mueller (Vertex Pharmaceuticals) - Telaprevir
2009 Dr Emma Parmee (Merck) - Januvia
2006 Napoleone Ferrara (Genentech) - Avastin (bevacizumab)
2003 Dr Juerg Zimmermann, Dr Elisabeth Buchdunger, Dr Ulrike Pfaar, Dr Peter Graf, Dr John Ford and Dr Renaud Capdeville (Novartis) - Glivec (imatinib)
2001 Dr Michael Cawthorne, Dr Stephen Smith, Dr Barrie Cantello, Mr Richard Hindley and Dr David Haigh (GlaxoSmithKline) - Rosiglitazone (Avandia)
1999 Dr David Tupper, Mr Terence Hotten and Dr Nicholas Moore (Eli Lilly) - Olanzapine
1997 Drs Duncan, Redshaw and Roberts (Roche) - Saquinavir
1995 Prof Pat Humphrey (Glaxo) - Sumatriptan
1993 Dr Ken Richardson (Pfizer) - Fluconazole
1991 Drs Dutta, Furr and Hutchinson (ICI) - Zoladex
1987 Prof John Stenlake (University of Strathclyde) - Atracurium
1985 Dr David Jack (Glaxo) - Salbutamol
1983 Mr Peter Doyle (Beecham) - Augmentin