Eli Lilly has pledged $30 million over five years to fight the rising burden on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in developing nations through the launch of the Lilly NCD Partnership. The partnership will combine the resources of the company and global health organizations to identify new models of patient care that increase treatment access and improve outcomes for underserved people. The new program will initially focus on diabetes. It is based on the concept of shared value, which is designed to identify comprehensive and sustainable approaches to patient care, which depending on local needs, may involve patient education, provider training, and increased access to treatment.
In other news, Eli Lilly has launched a new open innovation platform that is designed to build the company’s pipeline and from a philanthropic perspective, identify molecules that may have applications for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The new platform, Open Innovation Drug Discovery, builds on Lilly’s Phenotypic Drug Discovery Initiative that was launched in 2009 to facilitate research. The new platform consists of three components: TD2, or target drug discovery, a new component that screens submitted molecules for their potential to interact with known disease targets; PD2, which continues to screen submitted molecules in complex cellular assays with the goal of identifying potential new medicines acting by novel mechanisms or pathways; and an additional new component that screens molecules for their potential against MDR-TB.
Johnson & Johnson reported on its progress in participating in the Every Woman, Every Child program, which is part of the United Nations’ (UN) Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health for reducing mortality in women and children by 2015. The company’s efforts include: the Mobil Alliance for Maternal Action, an initiative to expand health information for mothers using mobile phones; Helping Babies Breathe, a safe-births initiative; doubling donations of treatments for intestinal worms in children; helping to ensure that no child is born with HIV; and furthering R&D of new medicines for HIV and tuberculosis.
The company also announced initiatives to support antismoking and smoking cessations programs to address the problem of noncommunicable diseases.The initiatives include QuitNowTXT, an interactive text-based intervention for adult smokers that offers motiviation, encouragement, and smoking facts, and participation in a Clinton Global Initiative to encourage employers to expand the availability of smoke-free workplaces
Merck & Co. released its 2010 global corporate responsibility report, which covers the company’s corporate responsibility activities, progress, goals, and performance in four areas that the company has identified as critical to its business goals. These areas include access to health, environmental sustainability, employees, and ethics and transparency. The report includes metrics and a new set of key performance indicators that will be used to measure progress in each area. The company will continue to use several external reporting guidelines, including the Global Reporting Initiative, the UN Millennium Development Goals, the Access to Medicines Index, and the UN Global Compact Communication on Progress.
In other news, Merck & Co. launched a 10-year, $500-million initiative, “Merck for Mothers,” which applies the company’s scientific and business expertise for improving public awareness, policy efforts, and private-sector engagement for reducing maternal mortality. Merck for Mothers will focus on two leading causes of maternal mortality, excessive and uncontrolled bleeding after childbirth and high-blood pressure during pregnancy, as well as family planning. The initiative will be guided by input from an internal steering committee and an external advisory board.
Novozymes and the environmental venture group CleanStar Ventures are jointly establishing an integrated food-energy business in Mozambique that will replace charcoal-burning cook stoves with cleaner ethanol stoves. Throughout Africa, more than 80% of urban families buy charcoal to cook their food, which is a source of mass deforestation across Africa. By 2014, CleanStar Mozambique intends to supply 20% of local households in Mozambique’s capital city Maputo with the ethanol alternative to charcoal, which it hopes will improve family health due to reduced pollution and protect 9000 acres of forest.
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, is donating to the World Health Organization (WHO) a vaccine strain for polio eradication. The material is original viral seed used to produce large quantities of oral polio vaccines (OPV) against the Type 3 polio virus. With this donation from Sanofi, WHO will be in full control of the storage of the vaccine strain and its distribution to vaccine producers worldwide.