Dr. Pieter Cullis, a professor in the UBC faculty of medicine’s department of biochemistry and molecular biology, has been awarded the 2023 Killam Prize for Health Sciences.
Dr. Cullis and his UBC colleagues are responsible for fundamental advances in the development of nanomedicines employing lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology for cancer therapies, gene therapies and vaccines. This work contributed to five drugs that received regulatory approval by the FDA, the European EMA and Health Canada.
One of the recently approved drugs enabled by the LNP delivery systems is Comirnaty, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech that received regulatory approval in many jurisdictions including Canada, the USA, the UK and Europe.
Comirnaty is playing a major role in containing the global COVID-19 pandemic with approximately six billion doses administered worldwide in 2021 and 2022.
Dr. Cullis, also director of the Nanomedicines Research Group, has co-founded eleven biotechnology companies that now employ over 400 people, has published over 350 scientific articles and is an inventor on over 100 patents.
The Killam Prizes are awarded to active Canadian scholars who have distinguished themselves through sustained research excellence, making a significant impact in their respective fields of engineering, health sciences, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. A prize of $100,000 is awarded to each Killam Prize winner.
Parts of this story are adapted from this Killam Laureates website article.