Two US scientists have won the Shaw Prize this year in life science and medicine for coming up with treatments for around 80,000 cystic fibrosis patients suffering from severe single-gene disorders.
Paul A Negulescu, senior vice president and site head of San Diego research at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Michael J Welsh, professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa, won for extending the life of cystic fibrosis patients.
Shaw Prize Foundation council member Chan Wai-yee said the two scientists discovered the molecular, biochemical and functional defects underlying cystic fibrosis that lead to genetic mutations.
"They developed targeted treatments and medicines that could make the mutated genes function as normal genes.
"The new treatments and medicines will alleviate suffering and save lives more effectively," Chan said.
The astronomy prize was presented to Lund University professor emeritus Lennart Lindegren and University College Dublin adjunct professor Michael Perryman for their role in conceiving and designing the European Space Agency's Hipparcos and Gaia satellite missions.
The mathematical sciences prize was won by Princeton University professor Noga Alon and University of Oxford professor Ehud Hrushovski for their research in discrete mathematics and model theory.
The prize was established in 2002 to honor individuals committed to scientific research and to highlight their discoveries in the three areas - each prize comes with US$1.2 million (HK$9.36 million).
Council chairman Kenneth Young Gong-kai said the award ceremony will be held in the second half of the year.