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A roundup of developments in corporate social responsibility and sustainability from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other public and private organizations.
Abbott (Abbott Park, IL) received the annual Illinois Continuous Improvement Award for environmental excellence. The award is part of the Illinois Governor's Sustainability Awards program, which recognize businesses and organizations in Illinois for significant achievements in protecting the environment through sustainable business practices. The award is administered by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, a division of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability at the University of Illinois. Abbott was recognized for six projects aimed at implementing green processes and reducing carbon dioxide emissions at its manufacturing and research and development facilities in Lake County, Illinois.
In other news, Abbott is providing $180,000 in support to help address the recent cholera outbreak in central Haiti. This donation includes a $25,000 grant from the Abbott Fund to Partners in Health, and $155,000 in donated Abbott rehydration solutions and antibiotics. Donated products are being distributed through AmeriCares,Catholic Medical Mission Board, Direct Relief International, and Partners in Health.
Albemarle (Baton Rouge, LA), a fine-chemicals company, reported that the Albemarle Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, contributed $250,000 to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s “From Hunger to Hope” campaign. The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank distributed more than 10.8 million pounds of food in 2009. The “From Hunger to Hope” campaign is funding the acquisition and renovation of a larger warehouse facility to allow the food bank to accept, process, and distribute more food on an annual basis.
DSM (Heerlen, The Netherlands) CEO Feike Sijbesma received the 2010 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the United Nations Association of New York for his commitment to corporate social responsibility and in particular for DSM’s partnership with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). DSM has a strategic partnership with WFP to address the problem of malnutrition in the developing world. The program, “Improving Nutrition, Improving Lives,” has helped more than 2 million people in Nepal, Kenya, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and other countries. Part of its work involves the development of a nutritional blend that can be sprinkled over food.
More than 8000 volunteers at Eli Lilly (Indianapolis, IN) and six partner companies participated in “A Greener Welcome” in early October as part of the 2010 Lilly Global Day of Service in partnership with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and the Indiana Department of Transportation. The volunteers landscaped five interchanges along the industrial corridor of Interstate 70 in Indiana. Specially commissioned sculptures will be installed at three interchanges later in the fall.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK, London), Fondazione Telethon, and Fondazione San Raffaele formed a strategic alliance to research and develop treatments to address rare genetic disorders by using gene therapy carried out on stem cells taken from the patient’s bone marrow (ex vivo). The alliance capitalizes on research performed at the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (HSR-TIGET), a joint venture between Fondazione Telethon and Fondazione San Raffaele. GSK will gain an exclusive license to develop and commercialize an investigational gene therapy for ADA Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (ADA-SCID), a rare and life-threatening immune deficiency, which affects approximately 350 children worldwide. In addition, GSK will codevelop with Fondazione Telethon and Fondazione San Raffaele, six further applications of ex vivo stem-cell therapy, using a new gene-transfer technology developed by HSR-TIGET scientists that has the potential to treat a range of rare disorders.
In other news, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is installing solar-energy panels at its Northeast Regional Distribution Center in York, Pennsylvania. Nearly 11,000 solar panels will cover an area on the roof to generate enough electricity to meet the annual energy needs of the building.
Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the World Health Organization to continue their collaboration in eliminating leprosy. Under the terms of the MoU, Novartis will continue to provide free multidrug therapy (MDT) medicines to all countries worldwide. The donation to the WHO, valued at about $26 million, will treat an estimated 1.1 million leprosy patients over the next five years, through 2015. In addition, Novartis will provide up to $2.5 million during the same period to cover costs incurred by the WHO for handling the donation and logistics. Since 2000, Novartis has donated more than 45 million MDT blister packs, the treatment recommended by the WHO, to treat approximately 5 million leprosy patients worldwide.
Teva Pharmaceuticals (North Wales, PA), in collaboration with the Philadelphia Eagles, awarded four grants totaling $125,000 to Philabundance ( a hunger-relief organization serving the Delware Valley in Pennsylvania), Students Run Philly Style (a program for improving the health of students through running), the Twilight Wish Foundation (a group helping senior citizens), and the Miracle League of Northampton Township (a baseball and softball league for children with physical and mental disabilities).
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report, Working to Overcome the Global Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases in October 2010, the first time that WHO has issued a report specifically addressing neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). WHO’s Strategic Technical and Advisory Group for NTDs met in June 2010 in Geneva to review the report. The report recommends five public-health strategies for the prevention and control of NTDs: preventive chemotherapy; intensified case management; vector control; the provision of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene; and veterinary public health. The report also recommends a research strategy for developing new medicines, particularly for leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis, new methods for vector control, vaccines for dengue fever, and new diagnostics.