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HBF Congratulates Michael Sofia on the 2016 Lasker-Debakey Award!

The Hepatitis B Foundation is proud to recognize Michael J. Sofia, PhD, who received the 2016 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for his role in the discovery of the cure for chronic hepatitis C. The Lasker Awards rank among the world’s most celebrated scientific honors for biomedical research; in fact, 87 past Lasker awardees have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize.

Dr. Sofia received the 2016 Lasker-DeBakey Award with Charles Rice, PhD, of Rockefeller University and Ralf Bartenschlager, PhD, of Heidelberg University, who were recognized for their work in developing systems essential to hepatitis C research. Dr. Sofia used these systems in developing his drug, sofosbuvir (Sovaldi®), while at Pharmasset, which was acquired by Gilead. His drug is now the backbone of Harvoni®, a 12 week course of treatment that cures almost 100% of HCV patients.

Today, Dr. Sofia has turned his attention to the unmet need of hepatitis B through his work as co-founder and chief scientific officer of Arbutus Biopharma, a company focused on HBV drug discovery. He also serves as a resident adjunct professor of the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute of the Hepatitis B Foundation. “Hepatitis B is difficult, but we and the Blumberg Institute have brought together some of the best scientists in the world to achieve this goal. We have put the hepatitis B virus in our cross hairs, and we won’t let it get away,” he said.

The cure for hepatitis C is one of the greatest medical advances of our lifetime and Dr. Sofia is deserving of the 2016 Lasker Award. We now look forward to his encore for hepatitis B! Read more at scientificamerican.com and search ‘2016 Lasker Award.’