Global Roundup: Sanofi Launches Nonprofit Unit to Supply Essential Medicines
In an effort to increase its social responsibility, France’s Sanofi created a nonprofit unit that will increase access of essential medicines to some of the poorest countries in the world. In an open letter to the company, Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson outlined several key projects that the company will implement to increase the impact of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy.
The company’s strategy is based on four pillars where Sanofi believes it is positioned to make a difference. Those pillars are access to medicines, support for vulnerable communities, preservation of the environment and inclusion and diversity of its employees. Access to medicines is a cornerstone of the company’s strategy. The Sanofi nonprofit aims to increase access to medicines that are considered essential by the World Health Organization to 40 low-income countries. Among those medicines are 30 made by Sanofi that are used in numerous therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, malaria and cancer. Sanofi will also finance the training of healthcare professionals or the development of sustainable care systems for those who suffer from chronic diseases and require complex care, the company said.
Additionally, Sanofi said it is committed to helping 1,000 rare disease patients who have no access to treatments. The company will donate 100,000 vials of medicine for their treatments each year.
“The pandemic has forced us to question nearly every aspect of our lives: how we live and work, and how we connect with our communities and the planet. Yet as challenging as 2020 was, it also brought us –Sanofi and the pharmaceutical industry– closer to our purpose than at any other time in living memory,” Hudson said in a statement. “This unique context led us to elevate our ambition for our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and embed it even more into our mission to transform lives and our vision for a better future.”
In December, Sanofi renewed its five-year partnership with WHO to fight neglected tropical diseases that affect approximately one billion people.
Elsewhere around the globe:
Metrion Biosciences: U.K.-based Metrion Biosciences secured £2.7 million in new equity financing, including £2.25 million from lead investor Gresham House Ventures. Funds from the financing round will be used to expand Metrion’s laboratories, invest in specialist equipment, develop its cell line library, and add GLP cardiac safety services. The financing will also enable Metrion to expand its business development activities.
Genomics plc – Also based in the U.K., Genomics plc. announced a study demonstrating its new integrated risk tool can more accurately predict the risk of CVD across multiple ancestries and ethnicities was published in The American Journal of Cardiology. In the paper, “Validation of an Integrated Risk Tool, Including Polygenic Risk Score, for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Multiple Ethnicities and Ancestries,” researchers from Genomics plc and Stanford University authenticated the clinical use of the company’s integrated risk tool, which also includes genetic information, showing that it outperforms the existing standard-of-care risk calculators currently used in both the U.S. and the U.K.
Avacta – Avacta Group plc and ABCAM plc entered into a global distribution agreement for the company’s recently developed SARS-CoV-2 research ELISA Affimer reagents. Avacta’s Affimer® reagents can be used in a high performance ELISA laboratory test to detect the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with high sensitivity and specificity for the spike protein of the original strain of the virus, as well as other dominant variants. Under term of the non-exclusive agreement, ABCAM will include Avacta’s SARS-CoV-2 spike protein Affimer research reagents in its online catalogue.
Mologic – Another U.K. biopharma company, Mologic announced its COVID-19 rapid antigen self-test has been selected by the U.S. National Institutes of Health for RADx Initiative funding. Mologic’s nasal swab test is designed for use by non-health professionals at home. The test indicates the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein in approximately 20 minutes. The self-test can be used by a person without medical training at the point-of-need, including home, workplace, education and travel settings. Mologic’s test is moving into Phase II testing. Mologic is also making this unique self-test design available to its customers and partners across a broad range of self-test applications, through the company’s contract research & manufacturing program.
RDIF -- The Russian Direct Investment Fund forged an agreement with India’s Panacea Biotech to produce 100 million doses of Sputnik V per year. Sputnik V is Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine. The partnership will be used to support manufacturing of the medication for Russia’s clients. Sputnik V has been registered in more than 59 countries to date. Efficacy of Sputnik V is 91.6%, one of three vaccines authorized that has efficacy of more than 90%. Sputnik V uses two different vectors as part of its two-dose regiment.
Delta 4 – Austria-based Delta 4 closed a multi-million Series A financing round. The company did not disclose the total raise, but said the funding will be used to accelerate its business development programs. The financing was provided by what was described as “a major European Family Office investing in the life sciences, technology and other industries.” In 2020, the company identified promising drug compounds for use in treatment of a rare kidney disease and COVID-19. Recently, these compounds were readied for Phase II clinical studies. Delta 4 will now expand its clinical scope and initiate discovery and development programs in additional indications, the company said.