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A roundup of developments in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other public and private organizations.
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, through its Mental Health & Well-Being initiative, has supported innovative initiatives to address the mental-health needs of returning veterans since the program was launched in 2011. On Dec. 11, 2012, the foundation announced six additional grants totaling nearly $3 million.
Lilly Diabetes plans to donate $100,000 to the Diabetes Scholars Foundation scholarship fund. The contribution will support the foundation's mission to support young people with Type I diabetes. The foundation will use the donation to fund the Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow's Leaders Scholarships for students with Type I diabetes as well as conference scholarships for families to attend the 2013 children with Diabetes Friends for Life conference in Orlando.
On Dec. 4, 2012, experts gathered in Basel, Switzerland, to discuss "A Generation at Risk: Psychosocial Support for Africa's children" at the 2012 symposium of the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development. The symposium was intended to provide healthcare experts the opportunity to assess psychosocial approaches and discuss various interventions that strive to ensure mental health and well-being for children in Africa. UNAIDS estimates that worldwide more than 16.6 million children have been orphaned by HIV and AIDS; 89% of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa. These children often face material hardship, socioeconomic disadvantage, social stigma, emotional isolation, and psychological trauma.
The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and Inovio Pharmaceuticals have announced a follow-on collaboration to advance the development of malaria vaccines and new vaccine delivery technologies. The companies will test whether combining genetically engineered DNA with electroporation, a new vaccine delivery technology, can induce a suitable immune response in humans to protect against malaria parasite infection. Using controlled electrical impulses, electroporation creates temporary pores in a cell membrane that will allow for uptake of the synthetic DNA. The DNA instructions can then be used by the cell to produce proteins that mimic the presence of the malaria pathogen. Researchers hope the technology will induce an immune response that provides protection against malaria.
Tanzania has expanded its immunization program to include Pfizer's Prevenar 13 for the prevention of pneumococcal disease. The availability of Prevenar 13 in Tanzania is made possible by the Advance Market Commitment (AMC), a funding mechanism that provides newer vaccines on a sustainable, affordable, and accelerated basis to the world's poorest countries. In the last two years, 20 countries, including Tanzania, have introduced Prevenar 13 into their immunization programs as part of the AMC. The vaccine is being offered to help protect an estimated 10.5 million infants and children in these developing countries from pneumococcal pneumonia and invasive disease caused by the serotypes in the vaccine.