Novartis Forms $20-M COVID-19 Response Fund; Collaborates in EU Research PactBy
Novartis has announced funding and research projects relating to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including the creation of a $20-million global fund to support communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and its participation in cross-sector R&D initiatives.
The company says the Novartis COVID-19 Response Fund will provide $20 million in grants to support public health initiatives designed to help communities manage challenges posed by the pandemic and has established an accelerated global review process that will allow for quick approval and disbursement of individual grants of up to $1 million. The fund is open to grant applications that will be processed through Novartis affiliates in the countries. According to the company, the fund will seek to provide financial grants for initiatives focused on but not limited to the following areas:
- Strengthening local and national healthcare infrastructure, including funding of additional medical personnel, sourcing of medicines, and medical equipment
- Establishing digital platforms for COVID-19-related data collection, remote delivery of healthcare, and effective dissemination of important public health information
- Creating new or enhancing new community health programs specific to the pandemic response.
Novartis also announced that it has entered into two new collaborative research efforts: the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, coordinated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard, and a COVID-19-directed partnership organized by the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a life-sciences public–private partnership between the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations). Both are cross-sector collaborations that bring several pharmaceutical companies and expert academic institutions into coordinated research programs.
Additionally, in response to an urgent call for research and development on coronavirus, issued by the EFPIA, Novartis is making available several compounds from its libraries that are considered suitable for in vitro antiviral testing. In addition, the company is evaluating other existing products to see if any could be utilized beyond their approved indications.