This is an unprecedented time for Novartis and for the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the health and well-being of millions of people, sadly taking too many lives too soon, and damaging healthcare systems, economies and livelihoods. In these challenging times, the importance and urgency of our company’s purpose - to reimagine medicine to improve and extend people’s lives - has come into sharp focus.
Novartis is making multiple contributions to the global effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as well as reaching out to individuals and communities impacted by the crisis. When the pandemic struck, we took immediate measures to secure the health and safety of our associates, as well as protect the thousands of people participating in Novartis clinical trials. We also worked quickly to secure our supply chains, to make sure patients had - and continue to have - uninterrupted access to their medicines and treatments in this difficult time.
As a world leader in medicines and therapeutics, Novartis is active in several cross-industry research initiatives relating to COVID-19. These include the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, coordinated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners, and a COVID-19 directed partnership supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative.
We recently announced a new collaboration with Molecular Partners to develop two DARPin® compounds - a new class of potent, specific and versatile small-protein therapeutics - designed for potential use against COVID-19. We are supporting COVID-19-related clinical investigations of several existing Novartis medicines, and started a collaborative, longer-term drug discovery effort to develop an antiviral molecule to potentially treat all coronaviruses. Our Novartis Gene Therapies business entered into a manufacturing agreement with Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital to produce their novel genetic COVID-19 vaccine candidate called AAVCOVID.
Collaboration is critical in combatting the pain and suffering caused by COVID-19 and rebuilding in its wake.
Access to medicines is critically important in times like these, and through our Sandoz division - a global leader in generics and biosimilars - Novartis became the first company to commit to keeping stable prices for a basket of essential medicines that may help in the treatment of COVID-19. We also entered into a collaboration with Civica Rx to support a stable supply of essential generic hospital medicines. For low and lower-middle income countries around the world, we are making 15 drugs that treat key symptoms of COVID-19 available at zero profit until a vaccine or curative treatment is found.
With COVID-19 profoundly impacting families and society in unprecedented ways, the Novartis US Foundation moved quickly to establish a USD 5 million COVID-19 Community Response Fund, making grants to 40 community organizations. This support funded programs relating to community health, protections for healthcare workers, digital and telehealth services, and other local needs. In addition, Novartis businesses across the US provided nearly USD 150 000 in in-kind donations.
Novartis associates have been generous in their support of national and local organizations working to fight the pandemic and mitigate its impact, with their donations amplified by a two-for-one match by the US Foundation. This campaign provided nearly USD 850 000 in combined associate donations and US Foundation match contributions. We also established an online platform for employee donations of food and other supplies to community-based organizations across the country.
Collaboration is critical in combatting the pain and suffering caused by COVID-19 and rebuilding in its wake. We are seeing the fruits of this approach in the remarkable progress on COVID-19 vaccines as well as in the development of more effective treatments for the disease and programs to help individuals, communities and societies impacted by the pandemic.
Novartis has long emphasized the importance of working together to fight disease, improve access to medicines and foster a more responsive and equitable healthcare system. We look forward to expanding this commitment, working with stakeholders everywhere to put an end to this terrible pandemic and build a better healthcare future for all.
Read how Novartis is fighting COVID-19 on multiple fronts and reaching out to people and communities in need.