BC-CfE’s Dr. Richard Harrigan wins Innovation and Achievement Award

Vancouver, BC [March 5, 2013] — Dr. Richard Harrigan, Director of the Laboratory Program at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE), has been awarded the Innovation and Achievement Award for his industry-leading work in HIV clinical research.

Presented by LifeSciences BC, the Innovation and Achievement Award is given annually to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the development of British Columbia’s life sciences industry.

“Dr. Harrigan has led groundbreaking research in the field of HIV research that has not only improved the lives of British Columbians and Canadians, but influenced HIV clinical care around the world,” said Don Enns, President of LifeSciences BC. “He is an ideal representative of the innovation occurring here in B.C.”

The LifeSciences British Columbia Awards have recognized the leaders in B.C. for 15 years. This year, seven recipients are being honoured for transforming the life sciences industry. Dr. Harrigan, who is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, expressed his gratitude at receiving the honour.

“I’m incredibly thankful to LifeSciences BC for this recognition,” said Dr. Harrigan. “I share this award with my colleagues at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, whose innovative work and novel approaches to HIV and AIDS treatment continues to improve people’s lives. I’m grateful for their support and for the support from St. Paul’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia, whose investment in and commitment to HIV research has made this work possible.”

For more than a decade, Dr. Harrigan has been a local, national, and international leader in the development of cutting-edge translational laboratory research with important implications for the clinical management of HIV. He has contributed extensively to the field of HIV drug efficacy and resistance, as well as the human and viral parameters that influence HIV disease progression.

Dr. Harrigan’s research in these areas has played a key role in enabling significant improvements in the quality and duration of life afforded patients by Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART). Under the BC-CfE’s Treatment as Prevention strategy, widespread HIV testing and provision of HAART to medically eligible British Columbians has led to improved health outcomes and a marked decrease in new HIV diagnoses. In 2012, new HIV diagnoses in the province numbered 248, down from the more than 900 new diagnoses at the height of the epidemic in the early 1990s.

“I congratulate Dr. Harrigan on receiving this award,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC-CfE and head of the Division of AIDS in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. “The success and global impact of his research has transformed HIV care around the world. I look forward to the innovations Dr. Harrigan and his team will develop in the future that will continue to improve the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS.”

Most recently, Dr. Harrigan has developed a “next generation” sequencing method to identify HIV-positive individuals who respond to maraviroc, the first approved “CCR5 antagonist” drug, as well as “ReCall” software for automated analysis of HIV drug resistance. The test and software have been adopted as the standard test across Canada and in over 30 countries.

The LifeSciences British Columbia Awards will take place Thursday, April 4 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For event details, please visit http://thefacesofinnovation2013.eventbrite.com

About the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada’s largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility and is internationally recognized as an innovative world leader in combating HIV/AIDS and related diseases. BC-CfE is based at St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care, a teaching hospital of the University of British Columbia. The BC-CfE works in close collaboration with key provincial stakeholders, including health authorities, health care providers, academics from other institutions, and the community to decrease the health burden of HIV and AIDS. By developing, monitoring and disseminating comprehensive research and treatment programs for HIV and related illnesses, the BC-CfE helps improve the health of British Columbians living with HIV.

About the University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of North America’s largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world’s 40 best universities. Surrounded by the beauty of the Canadian West, it is a place that inspires bold, new ways of thinking that have helped make it a national leader in areas as diverse as community service learning, sustainability and research commercialization. UBC offers more than 55,000 students a range of innovative programs and attracts $550 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations and industry through 7,000 grants.

About LifeSciences BC

LifeSciences BC is a not-for-profit industry association that supports and represents the greater life sciences community of British Columbia through leadership, advocacy and promotion of our world-class science and industry. Its vision is to build a world-class life sciences community in B.C. that contributes to the economic and societal wellbeing of the Province through a collaborative effort between industry, academia and government.

For additional information or to request interviews, please contact:

Kevin Hollett
BC-CfE
Phone: 604-682-2344 ext. 66536
Mobile: 778-848-3420
Email: khollett@cfenet.ubc.ca