2000 onwards

A scientist working in the lab at the GSK Bio Shanghai R&D facility

​Timeline of key medical research achievements in the 2000s:


  • Herceptin (Roche) approved for breast cancer
  • New class of oral anti-diabetic agents introduced – Rosiglitazone (GSK) and Pioglitazone (Takeda)
  • Bupropion (GSK) launched for smoking cessation


  • Sequencing of human genome reported to have been completed. Sir Paul Nurse and Dr Tim Hunt (UK) awarded Nobel Prize together with Dr Leland Hartwell (US) for research on cell cycle regulation of major relevance to the development of new cancer therapies
  • Caspofungin (MSD) – first of new class of antifungal agents approved
  • Glivec (Novartis) a major advance in treating chronic myeloid leukaemia introduced
  • Linezolid (Pharmacia) – first entirely new class of antibiotic in 30 years


  • Tiotropium (Boehringer) first long-acting anti-muscarinic agent for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) launched
  • First vaccine to protect against chickenpox Varilrix (GSK) introduced
  • Xigris (Eli Lilly) treatment for life-threatening sepsis made available
  • Insulin glargine (Aventis) first long-acting insulin analogue for diabetes launched


  • First fusion-inhibitor Fuzeon (Roche) for antiretroviral-resistant HIV infections introduced
  • Ezetimibe (MSD/Schering-Plough), a new type of cholesterol-lowering agent, launched in the UK
  • Recombinant PTH teriparatide (Eli Lilly) launched for treating post-menopausal osteoporosis


  • First medical treatment for stress incontinence in women, Duloxetine (Eli Lilly/Boehringer)
  • Introduction of Bortezomib (Janssen-Cilag) for treating multiple myeloma
  • Approval of the angiotensin receptor blocker Candesartan (Astra-Zeneca) and aldosterone antagonist Eplerenone (Pfizer) improve prospects for the treatment of heart failure
  • Monoclonal antibody Efalizumab (Serono) launched for treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis


  • Erlotinib (Roche) new oral treatment for advanced or metastatic lung cancer launched
  • Anti-IgE monoclonal antibody Xolair (Novartis) introduced for asthma treatment
  • First treatment Rivastigmine (Novartis) for dementia in Parkinson’s disease introduced
  • Approval of two new monoclonal antibodies – Cetuximab (Merck) and Bevacizumab (Roche) improves survival prospects for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer


  • New type of antibiotic Tigecycline (Wyeth) approved for complicated skin and abdominal infections
  • Anti-TNF-Α monoclonal antibody Infliximab (Schering-Plough) introduced as first biological agent for severe, treatment-resistant ulcerative colitis, following earlier approval in Crohn’s disease
  • First inhaled insulin Exubera (Pfizer) approved for diabetes
  • Rotarix (GSK) launched as first vaccine to protect infants against gastroenteritis due to rotavirus


  • Cervarix (Glaxo SmithKline) and Gardasil (Merck & Co) licenced in Europe for prevention of cancers associated with infection by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
  • Raltegravir (Merck & Co) – first integrase inhibitor to treat HIV


  • Trastuzumab (Genentech), licenced  for treatment of HER2 positive breast cancer – an example of stratified medicine


  • Gefitinib (AstraZeneca)  the first selective inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor's (EGFR) tyrosine kinase domain, for EGFR mutation positive non-small cell lung cancer patients licenced in the EU – a further example of stratified medicine


  • Denosumab (Amgen) approved in EU and US – the first biological agent for the treatment of osteoporosis

Back to 1990–1999 

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