Teams competing for the 'Pharma 2 Peak Kosi Challenge'

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The race is on to the top of Mount Kosciuszko with industry lining up to support the popular Rare Cancers Australia again in 2017.

The annual event, which started in 2013 when Richard and Kate Vines walked from Canberra to the top of Kosciuszko, raises money to support and improve the lives of rare cancer patients.

Pharmaceutical company employees have always been strong supporters of the event and are already signing-up in significant numbers.

In fact, so many have signed up Rare Cancers Australia is teaming up with PharmaDispatch to launch the 'Pharma 2 Peak Kosi Challenge' to see which pharmaceutical company employees can raise the most towards supporting the $200,000 fundraising goal.

Six teams from six companies are currently confirmed, with more to come.

Novartis (The Yodeling Novartians), Pfizer (e-LEIGH-sa), Janssen (Janssen), Amgen (Team Amgen), MSD (Team MSD) and Gilead (Gilead), and all vying to win the first ever 'Pharma 2 Peak Kosi Challenge'.

The team that raises the most money will be awarded the Rare Cancers Australia-PharmaDisaptch 'Pharma 2 Peak Kosi Challenge' trophy - a perpetual trophy to be awarded annually, starting at the even dinner in Thredbo on 18 March.

Gilead is currently leading the way.

"We’ve always had great support from the pharma industry for our Mount Kosi Challenge event and this year is no exception," said Rare Cancers Australia CEO Richard Vines. 

"We are excited by and grateful for all the Pharma staff that are coming along this year. What is fantastic about this event is that it is the great people who work in pharma not the companies that are supporting us. For so many people to give up a weekend, fundraise for us and tackle the mountain is just brilliant.

"We have just surpassed the same number of registrations this time last year, so we are on track to have a record number of event participants. Our goal is 300 participants and our fundraising target is $200,000. It illustrates the growing support for our organisation, and sadly, the growing need for our services. The Kosi Challenge is already bigger than we ever thought possible and it just keeps growing every year," added Mr Vines.

The teams are getting behind the event with fundraising already underway.

"It's great to once again sweat it out over a weekend of friendly competition and raise funds through the Kosi challenge! The strong industry support for this event and Rare Cancers Australia shows we are united in one cause and that's tackling the challenge of bringing innovative medicines to rare cancer patients," said Pfizer External Relations Manager, Leigh Laurence.

"MSD is proud to be taking part in the Rare Cancers Mount Kosciuszko Challenge on 18 March 2017. Our team  is passionate about helping and recognising the 42,000 Australians diagnosed each year with rare and less common cancers," the company told PharmaDispatch.

"One of the most important elements of the walk is the ability for us to meet and connect with all the participants - many of them are either fighting cancer, supporting a loved one or remembering a loved one.  We look forward to walking with them and reaching the summit of Mount Kosciuszko together."

"Every year we’re pleased to see more and more Amgen employees take up the Kosciuszko challenge in support of Rare Cancers Australia," said a spokesperson for Amgen.

"Amgen team members possess a ‘sporty gene’ that coupled with our passion to raise awareness and improve the lives of people with rare and less common cancers, means we’re hot contenders to win the Kosciuszko challenge."

It is not too late to register, added Mr Vines. 

Register via and email to get your team in the competition.