Cytokinetics has announced that the company's president and CEO, Robert Blum, received the 2014 Lou Gehrig Iron Horse Award from ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS.net).
The award is the organization's top honor named after Lou Gehrig, who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and earned the nickname "Iron Horse" for his prowess, durability and character as a Hall of Fame baseball player for the New York Yankees. Lou Gehrig's strength and endurance enabled him to play a then-record 2,130 consecutive games. He retired from baseball in 1939 after being diagnosed with ALS. Gehrig passed away two years later due to complications associated with his disease and his name has become synonymous with ALS and the battle for hope for new treatment options.
"I am proud to accept the 2014 Lou Gehrig Iron Horse Award on behalf of my colleagues at Cytokinetics," said Blum. "This award is a tribute to our employees all of whom are steadfastly committed to the fight against ALS. We are pleased to be recognized by the Institute as our two organizations share commitment to the development of novel mechanism treatments for patients living with ALS. Inspired by patients with ALS like Lou Gehrig who portray everyday courage, Cytokinetics employees similarly demonstrate conviction and dedication every day in the fight against this grievous disease."
Cytokinetics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, is developing tirasemtiv, a fast skeletal muscle activator, as a potential treatment for ALS. Tirasemtiv is the subject of a phase II clinical trials program and has been granted orphan drug designation and fast track status by the FDA and orphan medicinal product designation by the EMA for the potential treatment of ALS. In BENEFIT-ALS, a recently completed phase IIb trial, treatment with tirasemtiv resulted in a statistically significant and potentially clinically meaningful reduction in the decline of SVC, a measure of the strength of the skeletal muscles responsible for breathing that has been shown to be an important predictor of disease progression and survival in prior trials of patients with ALS.