Innovative Medicines Canada’s members are working around the clock to find new treatments and vaccines to fight COVID-19.
Find out more about what the industry is doing below.
Updated July 16, 2020
Diagnostic testing and equipment are essential in the fight against COVID-19.
Following are examples of how our member companies are engaged in combatting COVID-19 through testing and diagnostic equipment:
- Roche is currently working with Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial public labs to align on a strategy for available COVID-19 testing solutions, including those provided by Roche, according to the needs of various jurisdictions. The company is diligently providing its solutions for COVID-19 testing to laboratories and is taking the necessary measures to help reduce the level of pandemic impact.
- Roche’s Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody test, now available in Canada, is designed to help determine if a patient has been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and if the patient has developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The high specificity of this test is crucial to determine reliably if a patient has developed antibodies related to an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The fully automated test offers a quick turnaround time and is available on all Roche’s high throughput cobas e analyzers which are widely available across Canada.
- Sanofi, in its efforts to fight COVID-19, is working on the development of an over the counter, self-testing solution, in collaboration with California startup, Luminostics. Sanofi’s goal is to provide a smartphone-based solution that can be carried out at home without a healthcare professional or laboratory tests, lowering the risk of catching and transmitting the virus for all involved. The test, designed to detect the COVID-19 virus from respiratory samples. It is based on a combination of Sanofi’s clinical research testing experience and Luminostics’ unique technology that uses smartphone’s optics. Controlled by an iOS/Android that comes with instructions on how to take a specimen and process it, the phone displays the test results and if necessary, connects users with a telehealth service.
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Research into Vaccines and Treatments
Meeting the challenge of creating a new vaccine and developing effective treatments for COVID-19 will take close collaboration across the private sector, public health authorities, industry partners, and government agencies, along with the coordinated work of thousands of scientists, physicians, researchers and volunteers.
The following are some examples of how our member companies are engaged in combatting COVID-19 through the research and development of medicines and vaccines:
- AbbVie has announced plans to evaluate its HIV medicine as COVID-19 treatment and has entered into partnerships with health authorities and institutions in various countries to investigate the efficacy and antiviral activity of the medication. AbbVie has also allied with industry partners and the Innovative Medicines Initiative to research and identify targeted medicines against COVID-19.
- Amgen and Adaptive Biotechnologies announced a collaboration aimed at helping address the COVID-19 pandemic. The companies will combine expertise to discover and develop fully human neutralizing antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 to potentially prevent or treat COVID-19. The mutually exclusive collaboration brings together Adaptive’s proprietary immune medicine platform for the identification of virus-neutralizing antibodies with Amgen’s expertise in immunology and novel antibody therapy development. Given the rapidly rising incidence of COVID-19 around the world, the companies will begin work. Neutralizing antibodies defend healthy cells by interfering with the biological function of an invading virus. These antibodies may be used therapeutically to treat someone currently fighting the disease and can be given to people who have heightened risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, such as healthcare workers.
- The research team based at Amgen British Columbia is actively engaged in anti-COVID 19 therapeutic antibody discovery efforts. They are focused on using antibody-producing B cells derived from patients that have mounted an immune response and recovered from the COVID-19 disease. This research leverages antibody discovery technologies developed by scientists at Amgen British Columbia and their over 20 years of experience in the field of discovery therapeutic antibodies, in collaboration with Amgen’s subsidiary deCODE Genetics, Amgen’s US-based research sites and external partners at Adaptive Bio.
- AstraZeneca is engaging with international health authorities and governments and has provided science and technology expertise to the World Health Organization and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. AstraZeneca’s Research and Development (R&D) teams have also been working expeditiously to identify monoclonal antibodies to progress towards clinical trial evaluation as a treatment to prevent COVID-19. More than 50 virology, immunology, respiratory, and protein engineering experts across research, clinical, regulatory, and manufacturing are placing the highest priority on developing a treatment to minimize the global impact of the disease.
- AstraZeneca has initiated two global clinical studies, one of which is being led by the Canadian Global Clinical Hub, to evaluate two of their existing medicines to help alleviate the exaggerated immune response that can result in pneumonia, respiratory failure and death of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 infections. The company is rapidly enrolling patients from a few of the most impacted countries.
- AstraZeneca recently announced a landmark agreement to collaborate with the University of Oxford on the development and distribution of the University’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine (AZD1222) aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection. In total, the company has confirmed agreements to supply 1.7 billion doses and is working rapidly to put in place parallel global supply chain agreements that will enable the company to reach all areas of the world at the same time and at no profit.
- Bayer and the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) plans to immediately launch a major clinical research program aimed at identifying potential COVID-19 treatments. The two studies will evaluate the safety and efficacy of different combination therapies including Bayer’s chloroquine and interferon beta-1b. An outpatient study will evaluate the combination of chloroquine with azithromycin to see if this treatment can prevent deterioration leading to hospital admission, while a second study will evaluate the combination of chloroquine with azithromycin, as well as interferon beta-1b, to prevent admission to intensive care, mechanical ventilation and/or death to combat COVID-19. The goal is to assess the value of these and other therapies rapidly so that the results can inform practice as soon as possible. Bayer will make a financial commitment of $1.5-million (CAD) towards the studies and will supply study drugs to support the research. This adds to the $0.5-million (CAD) committed by the PHRI earlier this month which enabled development of the research program. PHRI plans to enroll 6,000 patients into the two studies from more than 60 contributing research sites across Ontario, Canada, and internationally.
- BioVectra is helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 by working with provincial and federal health authorities to support essential services with access to sanitizing agents, manufacturing critical raw materials for COVID-19 diagnostic testing kits, and collaborating with multiple Canadian biopharmaceutical companies and academia on COVID-19 therapeutic products.
- Boehringer Ingelheim is supporting the development of therapies against COVID-19. The company is collaborating with the German Center for Infectious Research and taking part in a fast-track call from the European Union’s Innovative Medicines Initiative to develop therapies and diagnostic tools for COVID-19. Their global research team is screening their entire molecule library with more than one million compounds to identify novel small molecules with activity against the virus. The same applies for already existing small molecule compounds from Boehringer Ingelheim’s former antiviral research. In addition, Boehringer Ingelheim supports scientists worldwide with its open innovation portal opnMe.com, which offers six anti-viral compounds out of 43 high quality pharmacological tool compounds at no cost for testing of research hypotheses.
- Boehringer Ingelheim is also part of a group of life sciences companies collaborating to accelerate the development, manufacture and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for COVID-19 in response to the pandemic. This work is being done alongside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is entering into the new collaborative research effort, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator. The aim of the Accelerator is to bring pharmaceutical companies and expert academic institutions into coordinated research programs, with the aim of bringing the most promising molecules forward that could be used to treat cases of COVID-19. GSK will contribute by making available compounds from its libraries for screening for activity against COVID-19. In addition, GSK is evaluating its marketed pharmaceutical products and medicines in development to determine if any could be used beyond their current indications in response to the pandemic. The company also expanded their vaccine development collaborations and is now working with five partner companies and research groups across the world, including in the USA and China.
- GSK and Sanofi have joined forces in an unprecedented collaboration to develop an adjuvanted vaccine to fight COVID-19, using innovative technology from both companies. GSK will contribute its proven pandemic adjuvant technology. The use of an adjuvant can be of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it may reduce the amount of vaccine protein required per dose, allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and therefore contributing to protect more people. The companies plan to initiate phase I clinical trials in the second half of 2020 and, subject to regulatory considerations, aim to complete the development required for availability by the second half of 2021.
JOHNSON & JOHNSON
- Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs it has been working on, through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, since January 2020. J&J expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process. Through a landmark new partnership, BARDA, which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Johnson & Johnson, through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, together have committed more than $1-billion of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development, and clinical testing. J&J will use its validated vaccine platform and is allocating resources to focus on these efforts. As part of its commitment, J&J is also expanding the Company’s global manufacturing capacity, including through the establishment of new U.S. vaccine manufacturing capabilities and scaling up capacity in other countries. In addition to Janssen’s efforts to develop a vaccine candidate, it is working closely with global partners to screen its library of antiviral molecules to accelerate the discovery of potential COVID-19 treatments and provide relief for people around the world.
- Lilly entered into an agreement with AbCellera to co-develop antibody products for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. The collaboration will leverage AbCellera’s rapid pandemic response platform, developed under the DARPA Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) Program, along with Lilly’s global capabilities for rapid development, manufacturing and distribution of therapeutic antibodies.
- Lilly has entered into an agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study baricitinib, a treatment for adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis, as an arm in NIAID’s Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial. The study will investigate the efficacy and safety of baricitinib as a potential treatment for hospitalized patients diagnosed with COVID-19, beginning this month in the U.S. with a planned expansion to additional sites including Europe and Asia. Results are expected within the next two months. Lilly also announced that it will advance LY3127804, an investigational selective monoclonal antibody against Angiopoietin 2 (Ang2), to Phase 2 testing in pneumonia patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who are at a higher risk of progressing to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Ang2 is known to be elevated in ARDS patients and Lilly will test whether inhibiting the effects of Ang2 with a monoclonal antibody can reduce the progression to ARDS or the need for mechanical ventilation in COVID-19 patients. This trial will begin later this month at several U.S. centers.
- Medicago announced the production of a viable vaccine candidate for COVID-19 which is undergoing preclinical testing for safety and efficacy. Funding received from the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Response Fund for coronavirus research and the Government of Quebec, as announced on March 23, will allow Medicago to rapidly move forward on clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate and then quickly shift to scaling up production for pandemic response.
- In research, building on their enormous experience with antivirals and vaccines, Merck has embarked upon a broad-based development program for antiviral and vaccine approaches for SARS-CoV-2. Merck has teams of scientists researching COVID-19 and assessing their available antiviral candidates and vaccine assets for potential to impact the pandemic. They are also engaged with a range of research organizations on collaborative efforts to accelerate the development of medicines and vaccines for COVID-19.
- Merck has announced that they are participating in a new research collaboration with the Institute for Systems Biology to investigate and define the molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 and identify targets for medicines and vaccines, as well as the NIH-led Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV consortium). ACTIV is a partnership that aims to develop a collaborative framework for prioritizing vaccine and drug candidates, streamlining clinical trials and regulatory processes, and/or leveraging assets among all partners to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 and future pandemics.
- More recently, Merck announced two COVID-19 vaccine development efforts—a collaboration with IAVI and acquiring Themis Bioscience, a company focused on vaccines and immune-modulation therapies for infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Merck has also announced a research collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to develop a novel antiviral candidate. Click on the links below to learn more about these scientific efforts:
- Merck knows from our experience in HIV and Ebola that science and collaboration are both essential to develop medicines and vaccines in a global public health emergency like the one we are facing now. They also know that the path to a new medicine or vaccine is not fast, nor is it easy. As was the case with many diseases, they are optimistic that our industry’s efforts will create new tools to combat this coronavirus. This pandemic underscores the need for their company and the industry to continue to invest in research for the greatest health threats.
- Merck is also pleased to work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its industry peers during this challenging period. As part of Merck’s commitment of expertise and assets, the company will be actively participating in the Therapeutics, Vaccines Manufacturing, and Clinical & Regulatory workstreams.
- Novartis is joining collaborative R&D efforts with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard-supported COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator and a partnership with the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). Novartis has also announced plans to initiate a Phase III clinical trial in collaboration with Incyte to evaluate the use of Jakavi for treatment of a type of severe immune overreaction called cytokine storm that can lead to life-threatening respiratory complications in patients with COVID-19. The proposed trial will assess Jakavi in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Given the rapid spread of the pandemic, and as plans for the study are finalized, Novartis also has set up an international compassionate use program for eligible patients, subject to local regulations, while ensuring there is enough Jakavi to go around for approved indications.
- Pfizer and BioNTech to co-develop potential Covid-19 vaccine. The collaboration aims to accelerate development of BioNTech’s potential first-in-class COVID-19 mRNA vaccine program, BNT162, which is expected to enter clinical testing by the end of April 2020. The rapid advancement of this collaboration builds on the research and development collaboration into which Pfizer and BioNTech entered in 2018 to develop mRNA-based vaccines for prevention of influenza.
- Roche Canada has been selected as a participant in a Phase III clinical trial studying the safety and efficacy of one of Roche’s portfolio medicines in hospitalized adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. In addition, Roche is collecting and compiling data from other, independently-led clinical trials that are taking place around the world.
- Roche launched a COVID-19 Open Innovation Challenge in late March to encourage Canadians to help develop solutions to the challenges we face from the COVID-19 pandemic. Roche received over 840 high quality applications demonstrating the amazing skill and talent we have in Canada. All submissions were reviewed by a Roche Canada Steering Committee, and the chosen winning submissions will receive funds to support the development of the innovative solution.
- Roche has also assembled a group of like-minded public and private organizations with a common mission and vision to bring actionable COVID-19 intelligence to patients, front-line healthcare providers, institutions, supply chains, and government. The group is called the Roche Data Science Coalition and has developed a centralized location, housed by ThinkData Works’ Namara platform, for curated publicly available population datasets which will be gathered from sources across the globe. The data collected through the Coalition will be used to enhance COVID-19 research datasets focused on informing the management of the global COVID-19 pandemic and will provide the scientific and research community with a robust foundation for current and future COVID-19 patient-level data work. The Roche Data Science Coalition collaborators, as well as patients, clinicians, infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists and data scientists will use this data to accelerate research efforts, evaluate solutions and ensure knowledge mobilization globally. The Coalition is also making available a patient self-assessment tool, supported through their collaborator, Self Care Catalysts and their free app Health Storylines, that can be used by anyone suspected to have, or has been diagnosed (currently being treated or recovered) with COVID-19.
- Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, is leveraging previous development work for a SARS vaccine as part of its goal to unlock a fast path forward for developing a COVID-19 vaccine. Sanofi is collaborating with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, expanding the company’s longstanding partnership with BARDA. That partnership includes an agreement signed last year to establish state of the art facilities in the United States for the sustainable production of an adjuvanted recombinant vaccine, the technology platform that will be used for the COVID-19 program. Additionally, Sanofi is researching whether some on-market products may be a potential treatment option and are also sharing their expertise in an advisory capacity to various global governments and health agencies, including the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
- In addition, Sanofi has started a global clinical trial program with Regeneron evaluating Kevzara(r) (sarilumab) in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19. This global clinical program began in the U.S. at medical centers in New York, one of the epicenters of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak, and is quickly recruiting across the country where COVID-19 is most prevalent. Canada one of the participating countries in the Phase 2/3 trial with patient enrollment starting shortly. Sanofi is also collaborating with Translate Bio, a clinical-stage messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics company, where Sanofi is combining its deep vaccine expertise and support with Translate Bio’s messenger RNA platform to discover, design, and manufacture a number of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates.
- Sanofi and GSK have joined forces in an unprecedented collaboration to develop an adjuvanted vaccine to fight COVID-19, using innovative technology from both companies. Sanofi will contribute its S-protein COVID-19 antigen, which is based on recombinant DNA technology. This technology has produced an exact genetic match to proteins found on the surface of the virus, and the DNA sequence encoding this antigen has been combined into the DNA of the baculovirus expression platform, the basis of Sanofi’s licensed recombinant influenza product in the US.
- Takeda is developing an investigational Hyperimmune globulin (H-IG). H-IG has been found to be effective in the treatment of severe acute respiratory infections of viral etiology and may present a potential treatment option for high-risk COVID-19 patients, as well as the prevention of infection in healthcare workers at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. In addition, Takeda is exploring whether select marketed therapies and molecules in its drug library could be viable candidates for the effective treatment of COVID-19. These efforts are at an early stage but being given a high priority within the company.
- Takeda is part of an alliance of world-leading plasma companies partnering to develop a potential plasma-derived therapy for treating COVID-19. The alliance will begin immediately with the investigational development of one, unbranded anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune immunoglobulin medicine with the potential to treat individuals with serious complications from COVID-19. The collaboration will leverage leading-edge expertise and work that the companies already have underway. Experts from the alliance will begin collaborating across key aspects such as plasma collections, clinical trial development and manufacturing.
- A consortium of life sciences companies announced an important collaboration to accelerate the development, manufacture and delivery of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for COVID-19 in response to the pandemic alongside Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The industry brings a range of assets, resources, and expertise needed to identify effective and scalable solutions to the pandemic that is affecting billions worldwide. The impact on health systems, economies, and livelihoods are significant, and effective response requires an unprecedented collaboration across government, academia, private sector, and philanthropy. As a first step, 15 companies have agreed to share their proprietary libraries of molecular compounds that already have some degree of safety and activity data–with the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator launched by the Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard two weeks ago to quickly screen them for potential against COVID-19. Successful hits would move rapidly into in vivo trials in as little as two months.
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Financial and in-kind contributions are used to support organizations and front-line healthcare workers largely impacted by the pandemic. Donations include a variety of crucial supplies including surgical equipment, antibiotics, disinfection equipment, protective clothing, masks, gloves and more.
The following are but a few examples of how our member companies are engaged in combatting COVID-19 through global and local financial and in-kind donations:
- AbbVie Canada is focused on helping support underserved communities and healthcare systems working to address the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic. AbbVie’s partners include the Breakfast Club of Canada and the United Way Centraide Canada. AbbVie is providing additional support to their patient associations, healthcare organizations and universities, for their COVID-specific activities, via their Grants and Donations program. AbbVie is also doubling the AbbVie Foundation match for COVID-19-related contributions by employees. Instead of the typical 1:1 match, the AbbVie Foundation will match $2 to every $1 employees donate to a qualified non-profit.
- Amgen Canada announced a range of initiatives to give donations, supplies and expertise to help Canadian communities fight the challenges presented by COVID-19. The impact of this program is valued at over $1-million. Highly skilled staff, including healthcare professionals, are encouraged to volunteer to support local communities in need through the COVID-19 Amgen Canada Volunteering Program. Staff can volunteer to act as surge support and in communities which are experiencing considerable strains. Amgen Canada has also made a considerable donation to the CanadaHelps COVID-19 HealthCare and Hospital Fund, which will be used to support charities and hospital foundations providing medical response efforts, lifesaving aid and critical equipment. CanadaHelps COVID-19 Community Care Fund has also received a significant donation from Amgen Canada, which will help to provide relief and support to vulnerable people, including seniors, children, and those who require special assistance.
- As well as providing considerable support to local communities, Amgen Canada is ensuring its patients receive the support they need during this time. Amgen will provide its medicines free of charge to Canadian patients who are currently prescribed an Amgen medication and no longer have prescription drug coverage due to loss of employment related to COVID-19. The company will also provide support to patient associations for COVID-19 related programs and to those organizations that have experienced hardship during the pandemic, allowing them to continue their important work.
- Amgen Canada is also encouraging employees to make charitable donations to COVID-19 relief efforts. The Amgen Foundation Disaster Relief Matching Gifts Program will match staff contributions to COVID-19 charitable funds across the globe, dollar-for-dollar, doubling the impact of the company’s giving worldwide.
- AstraZeneca Canada is donating 200,000 surgical face masks to support Canadian healthcare workers on the front-line as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Donated in response to the federal government’s request for additional personal protective equipment (PPE), the masks have been shipped to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to be distributed to areas with the greatest need. To help address the many challenges presented by COVID-19–including the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic–the company has also made donations to the Canadian Red Cross and Food Banks Canada, assisting their efforts to care for and support those most vulnerable in communities across Canada.
- AstraZeneca recently launched AZ Cares Canada – a program that provides prescribed AstraZeneca medicines free-of-charge to Canadians who are currently on an AstraZeneca medicine and no longer have prescription drug benefits as a result of loss of employment due to COVID-19, and who do not qualify for public reimbursement. Through their Patient Assistance Program (PAP) and Patient Support Programs in Oncology and Severe Asthma, the company is helping Canadians gain access to AstraZeneca medications they are unable to afford.
- Since the start of the pandemic, GSK Canada has been actively exploring ways to support those in our communities waging war against COVID-19 and is taking a Canada-wide approach to support COVID-19 relief efforts. Towards this, GSK in Canada has made available $950,000 in corporate grants. Over $650,000 is available in donations, in support of charitable needs across the country during the pandemic including Save the Children (STC), United Way/Centraide, and HIV Community Fund–which includes Elevate NWO, Fife House, Clinique Quorum, Clinique Actuel and Mainline Needle Exchange patient support network in Halifax. $175,000 is available in grants and donations for patient groups, community groups, personal protective equipment and Independent Medical Education (IME). Up to $120,000 will go toward matching employee donations to charitable organizations in a 2:1 ratio. GSK also provides its employees four paid volunteering days in 2020 to enable them to volunteer their time for COVID-19 related initiatives.
INNOVATIVE MEDICINES CANADA
- Janssen has mobilized to provide equipment, products and increased funding for front line health workers, including mental health support. Additionally, they have increased support to food banks in Canada, as more families turn to them for help. As part of North American employee giving efforts, Janssen employees in Canada have also contributed to funding for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, a global fund supporting work on behalf of the World Health Organization. Janssen Inc. also offers employees who are licensed healthcare professionals, the opportunity to volunteer time to support COVID-19 medical efforts, through their COVID-19 Medical Personnel Leave. In addition, they are encouraging employees to support their local communities through volunteering where needed.
- Lundbeck Canada continues to offer support to patients most in need, through its patient support program for its mental health medications. The Lundbeck Helping Hands program is supporting 4,500 patients on a monthly basis across Canada. Requests for support are assessed on a case-by-case basis and some patients may not qualify.
- Merck Canada announced its commitment of $500,000 to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a donation of $100,000 for the purchase of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line health care professionals and pharmacists across the country. Approximately $200,000 is to go towards donations that support communities and vulnerable populations in Canada, including Food Banks Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, Health Partners International of Canada, Centraide of Greater Montreal/United Way, and Merck for Mothers Canada. Also included is support for patient associations through sponsorship of patient programs totaling $200,000 to ensure continuance of care for cancer patients, including support for diagnosis and treatment in a COVID-19 environment in a timely and ethical manner.
- Novartis Canada will be giving $500,000 to community and patient groups as part of the company’s newly created Community Strong COVID-19 response program. Bringing support to communities in need and collaborating with patient organizations to address the needs of patients is very much a priority for the organization at this critical time. The Community Strong program was initiated by Novartis in Canada, which includes the Innovative Medicines Division (Oncology and Pharma business units) and Sandoz Canada, and is an immediate response to support Canadians who are most in need. A portion of the response fund has been allocated to donations to support patient organizations with COVID-19-related objectives. As part of the program and to support the generosity of associates from across the Novartis divisions, an employee donation program has been established whereby up to $50,000 in contributions will be matched by the company.
- Novo Nordisk Canada recognizes that public health authorities and provincial healthcare systems are overwhelmed and experiencing critical gaps due to the evolving impact of COVID-19 across Canada. Supporting local communities is more important than ever. Novo Nordisk Canada employs highly-qualified professionals with critical skills and healthcare capabilities including: medical doctors, registered nurses, pharmacists and diabetes educators. The company launched the Take Action volunteer program so employees can offer their support to our healthcare system, primarily through remote tools while still receiving their salary from Novo Nordisk. Volunteering colleagues are being offered where they are needed as ‘short-term surge support’ given the current strain on both public health systems and community organizations; the Take Action program will not displace any existing jobs in Canada. The program is aimed at deploying employees who are underutilized and will not compromise business commitments to patients and healthcare professionals.
- As well as offering a new employee matching gift opportunity for COVID related causes, Pfizer Canada has made significant donations to front-line community organizations, including the Breakfast Club of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, Centraide ̸ United Way, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Fondation CHU Sainte-Justine, Fondation Petits Frères des Pauvres, Help Age Canada, Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation and West-Island Community Shares. Pfizer has also donated digital advertising space to Canadian Blood Services. Pfizer also allows colleagues who are licensed healthcare professional to volunteer their services to provide healthcare support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Amgen and the Amgen Foundation announced on March 23 an initial commitment of up to $12.5-million to support U.S. and global relief efforts to address critical needs in communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to support emergency response efforts in Amgen’s U.S. and international communities, patient-focused organizations that are mounting their own response efforts, and international relief efforts by Direct Relief and International Medical Corps. The Amgen Foundation will also match donations made by Amgen staff around the globe who wish to contribute their own funds to the relief efforts.
- AstraZeneca is donating nine million face masks to support healthcare workers around the world as they respond to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) global pandemic. AstraZeneca has partnered with the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform, created with the support of the World Health Organization, to identify countries in greatest need. treatment to prevent COVID-19.
- Bayer is donating medicines and additional financial aid worth a total of approximately 1.5-million (EUR) to support the population affected by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China. The donations will be made to the Chinese Red Cross, which is working together with the health authorities to coordinate the deployment of aid measures for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and containment of COVID-19.
- Bayer has donated three million tablets of the malaria drug Resochin to the U.S. government for potential use to treat COVID-19. Resochin, made of chloroquine phosphate and an approved treatment for malaria, is being evaluated in China for its potential use against COVID-19, the disease caused by the fast-spreading coronavirus.
- Boehringer Ingelheim has significantly stepped up its support to the fight against COVID-19. A Global Support Program has been set up to bring more financial relief, protective materials and medicine donations to healthcare institutions and communities in need around the world. This program includes making available EUR 5.8-million in a global support fund for financial and in-kind donations for local emergency aid across its markets, including, for example, protective masks, disinfectants, inhalers and medicines. The company is also working with local organizations that use financial and medicine donations to organize help for patients in their communities. The program also offers all of Boehringer Ingelheim’s 51,000 employees the opportunity to take up to 10 days of paid leave to join approved external organizations as a volunteer to bring COVID-19 relief. Employees who are unable to perform their work on-site or from home, are given the opportunity to volunteer for longer while paid their regular salaries, until they can resume their work.
BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB
- Bristol Myers Squibb is committed to supporting communities deeply affected by the virus. The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, an independent charitable organization, is committed to working with global relief partners and, to date, has provided more than $5-million in financial support and needed products to response and relief capabilities around the world with more support being provided every day.
EMD SERONO CANADA
- As part of the global effort to investigate potential therapeutics for COVID-19, EMD Serono Canada, through its parent company, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has donated a supply of interferon beta-1a (Rebif®) to the French Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) following a request for use in a clinical trial. The trial is sponsored by INSERM and its launch has been announced by the French Health authorities on March 11. To date, Merck KGaA’s interferon beta-1a (REBIF) is not approved by any regulatory authority for the treatment of COVID-19 or for use as an antiviral agent.
- On March 25, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that the company is donating $10-million to The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, created by the UN Foundation and WHO, to support WHO and partners to prevent, detect, and manage the pandemic, particularly where the needs are the greatest. Among its objectives, the fund will enable distribution of essential supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) to front-line health workers. GSK is also donating surplus reagents to support diagnostic testing to several countries and is preparing to do the same for surplus PPE.
JOHNSON & JOHNSON
- On March 27, the Johnson & Johnson family of companies and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation announced a commitment of $50-million USD to support front-line health workers in the global fight against COVID-19.
- As an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by brain diseases, with a particular focus on supporting the mental health of individuals across the globe, Lundbeck is working to support communities that may be most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The company also is taking action to bolster Canada’s health care system’s ability to respond to the pandemic through their role in supporting the IMC COVID-19 Fund. In addition, the Lundbeck US Charitable Fund made a significant donation to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund, which focuses on non-profit organizations working directly to support health care workers and respond to the pandemic among the most vulnerable populations. Lundbeck’s La Jolla Research Center donated a large portion of its inventory of disposable gloves to California healthcare workers in local area hospitals. Across the globe, the company’s local affiliates are supporting relief organizations; early in the pandemic, Lundbeck China donated 1-million Chinese Yuen to the Red Cross Foundation to support the front-line workers in the city of Wuhan. And the Lundbeck Foundation, which owns 70 per cent of Lundbeck, has earmarked DKK 30-million (CAD 6.2-million) for research projects targeting the current coronavirus pandemic.
- Novartis announced a broad range of initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic including the creation of a $20-million (USD) global fund to support impacted communities. The Novartis COVID-19 Response Fund will provide grants of up to $1-million (USD) to support communities around the world most impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.
- Novartis announced its commitment to donate up to 130 million doses of generic hydroxychloroquine to support the global COVID-19 pandemic response. Hydroxychloroquine and a related drug, chloroquine, are currently under evaluation in clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19. Novartis is supporting ongoing clinical trial efforts and will evaluate needs for additional clinical trials. The company is also exploring further scaling of capacity to increase supply and is committed to working with manufacturers around the world to meet global demand. Novartis will work with stakeholders including the World Health Organization to determine the best distribution of the medicine to ensure broad access to patients most in need of this medicine globally.
- Pfizer and The Pfizer Foundation announced the commitment of $40-million in medical and charitable cash grants to help combat the global health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. The donation addresses the urgent needs of partners who are working to slow the spread of the virus within communities and strengthen vulnerable healthcare systems against future public health threats. Pfizer is also responding to patient and healthcare provider needs during this unprecedented time by evolving its U.S. Patient Assistance Program and donating additional critical medicines and vaccines around the world.
- Sanofi has committed to donating 100 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to 50 countries around the world and has begun to progressively deliver the medicine to authorities that have requested it, while securing appropriate supply levels for current approved indications. If the ongoing clinical studies demonstrate its safety and efficacy in COVID-19 patients, Sanofi commits to donating the medicine to governments worldwide.
- Since the beginning of the crisis, Servier is committed to helping those who fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. In Canada, Servier partners with Innovative Medicines Canada members to donate 100,000 masks to help protect front-line healthcare workers battling the virus. At the global level, beyond supporting the research efforts to prevent and treat the coronavirus disease, the company has, to date, contributed to solidarity initiatives in more than 35 countries. Servier is assisting health authorities and hospitals by providing hand sanitizer gel and urgently needed personal protection equipment (more than 300 000 masks, gloves and other protective gear donated directly by Servier or through industry association initiatives). Servier is also joining forces with foundations, NGOs and associations (such as the Chinese Red Cross and Americares in India) by making donations to help caregivers and populations affected by the virus. In France, many healthcare professionals employed by Servier have volunteered to join medical staff on the front-line against the virus. Servier also brings its expertise and financial support to the multi-stakeholder partnership “Health Innovation Coalition – Health Crisis″ that aims to develop innovative solutions to relieve congestion in the healthcare system and ensure patients with chronic diseases continue to be treated. As a global leader in healthcare, Servier puts its best efforts to ensure the continuity of its operations and provide full access to its medicines for patients who rely on them, in Canada and around the world.
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