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Lilly Foundation Commits US $30 Million to The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership

LILLE, France, Oct. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --  The Eli Lilly and Company Foundation has committed US $30 million in funding to further support The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership in its fight against multidrug-resistant tuberculosis – a disease that disproportionately affects developing countries and kills more than 150,000 people each year. The announcement was made ahead of the opening of the 42nd Union World Conference on Lung Health in Lille, France, later this week.

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) launched The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership in 2003 to strengthen the global battle against multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Lilly originally committed US $70 million to launch the partnership, elevate MDR-TB on the global health agenda and transfer technology for two Lilly medicines used to treat MDR-TB to other manufacturers. In 2007, Lilly expanded the original duration and scope for the partnership by committing an additional US $50 million to the collaboration – and another US $15 million for early drug discovery efforts – to complete the technology transfer and to further strengthen awareness, prevention and care for patients who suffer from MDR-TB and TB.

The Lilly Foundation has now committed an additional US $30 million to support a third and final stage of the partnership. This funding will be used to advance the partnership's efforts in two key areas of focus over the next five years (2012-2016):

  • Providing training for healthcare providers – from professional healthcare workers such as nurses and doctors, to informal care givers, such as community volunteers.
  • Improving supply and access to safe, effective and quality-assured second-line drugs – currently less than one percent of MDR-TB patients globally receive appropriate second-line treatment.

The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership will continue to work with partners at the global and local level, with a specific focus in China, India, Russia and South Africa – the four countries with the highest burden of MDR-TB.

Furthermore, the partnership will use the following approach to guide its efforts:

  • Research: Pilot and collect data on new and existing best practices to combat MDR-TB – specifically in the areas of healthcare provider training and improving access to second-line medicines;
  • Report: Work with well-respected partners to share data and key learnings; and
  • Advocate: Inform key stakeholders about the findings and encourage the adaptation and scale-up of proven, cost-effective solutions.

With the additional US $30 million in funding, Lilly and the Lilly Foundation will have committed a total of US $165 million from 2003-2016 in cash, product and in-kind services and material to The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership and external early drug discovery efforts for TB.

In 2016, Lilly will conclude its role in The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership. Over the next five years, Lilly will support its partners to help ensure they are well positioned to carry on the partnership's work – with the ultimate goal of sharing learnings with the global health community so that successful solutions can be sustained and replicated around the world.

"We are very proud to make this announcement today. Yet, our financial contribution is small compared to the billions of dollars needed to fight MDR-TB. We cannot solve this global challenge alone, but – given our unique experience and capabilities – we will continue to play an important role as a catalyst," said John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., Eli Lilly and Company chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Our goal over the next five years is to focus the partnership on finding effective new approaches that improve patient outcomes and that can be replicated by others."

Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership, noted: "With this new focus, The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership will have a significant impact on two of the most critical challenges to tackling MDR-TB: the shortage of expertise and health workers – especially community health workers – who are well versed in all the medical and social elements of TB care; and the uncertain supply of high-quality second-line TB drugs. By supporting partners that are addressing these challenges, The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership will continue to help countries move toward providing high-quality TB treatment for all people who need it."

The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership

The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership is comprised of more than 25 health organizations, academic institutions and corporations – including the World Health Organization, the Stop TB Partnership and the International Council of Nurses. The goal of the partnership is to combat the expanding global crisis of MDR-TB by providing access to medicines, raising awareness and training health care professionals.  

"Years ago, Lilly began supplying two medicines since shown to be effective against MDR-TB," said Lechleiter. "Even as our portfolio evolved over time to a focus on chronic diseases, we started The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership to mobilize and engage organizations to fight this devastating disease. Since the inception of the partnership in 2003, our goal has been to collaborate with other organizations and help them advance this work, with Lilly's involvement diminishing over time in a responsible manner."

Significant Successes 2003 - 2011

In the first eight years of The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership (2003 – 2011), Lilly's commitment of US $135 million was allocated among three principal areas: US $70 million for drug supply and the transfer of MDR-TB drug manufacturing technology to local suppliers in high-burden countries; US $50 million for advocacy activities, community support and health care provider training; and US $15 million to the non-profit TB Drug Discovery Initiative.

The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership has achieved significant results, including:

  • The transfer of manufacturing technology to seven companies around the world to increase availability of MDR-TB medicines and improve standards of care. Companies in China, India, Russia and South Africa – the highest burden countries for MDR-TB – received technology, know-how and trademarks, as well as training and financial support from Lilly.  
  • The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership has trained more than 100,000 health care professionals and nurses to better recognize, diagnose and treat MDR-TB, and to provide care and support to patients and their families.
  • Guidelines and toolkits have been distributed to more than 45,000 hospitals and clinics.
  • TB and MDR-TB messages have reached millions of people in high-risk populations through innovative public awareness campaigns.
  • More than 350 journalists have been educated and trained to report on the disease in ways appropriate to their cultures.
  • The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership's work has been recognized at the highest level, and it has received international awards from the Clinton Initiative, the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Council of Nurses and the Global Business Coalition on Health.

About Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

TB is an airborne bacterium that can spread to any organ of the body, but most often is found in the lungs. Symptoms may include severe and prolonged coughing, fever, weight loss, chest pain and night sweats. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines MDR-TB as resistance to at least two first line anti-TB medicines. This type of TB often develops in patients who do not properly adhere to treatment for regular TB, have failed first-line treatment or contracted the disease unknowingly.

About the Lilly Foundation

The Lilly Foundation, which receives its funding from Eli Lilly and Company, was established in 1968 as a tax-exempt private foundation to support philanthropic initiatives in healthcare, education and community development. In the area of healthcare, the Lilly Foundation collaborates with global and local partners to find innovative solutions to complex healthcare challenges.

About Eli Lilly and Company

Eli Lilly and Company, a leading innovation-driven corporation is developing a growing portfolio of pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, USA, Eli Lilly and Company provides answers – through medicines and information – for some of the world's most urgent medical needs.  C-LLY


SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company
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