WASHINGTON – Japanese professor Akira Endo will be one of this year’s Canada Gairdner Award laureates for his discovery of statins, an achievement that led to the development of cholesterol-lowering medicines, the award’s foundation said Tuesday.
Endo, 83, a distinguished professor emeritus at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, discovered statins when he was working as a researcher for pharmaceutical-maker Sankyo Co., the predecessor of Daiichi Sankyo Co.
His discovery and development of statins “have transformed the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease,” the foundation said in a statement.
Previous Japanese winners of the Gairdner prize, awarded for medical discoveries, include 54-year-old Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka, who developed iPS cells, and Satoshi Omura, the 81-year-old Kitasato University professor emeritus who discovered and helped develop therapies to fight tropical infections.
Both also won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.