- Hep-C Circle of Care grants will fund new and
existing programs with the potential to enhance patient care -
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) today announced that
it has awarded 16 grants totaling approximately $1.5 million to a
variety of academic, patient and community groups as part of the Vertex Hep-C
Circle of Care program, a pilot competitive grants program designed
to foster innovative approaches to patient care and support people
living with chronic hepatitis C. This program is in addition to the
ongoing Vertex grants program.
In the United States, nearly 4 million people have chronic hepatitis C
and an estimated 75 percent of them are unaware of their infection1.
This high burden of disease has significant medical, social and economic
consequences. Despite improvements in the treatment of chronic hepatitis
C infection, people continue to face a number of critical barriers to
achieving optimal care such as access to appropriate health care,
keeping track of medication doses, issues associated with mental illness
or substance abuse and the need for ongoing counseling and emotional
support during treatment. Through the Hep-C Circle of Care
initiative, Vertex seeks to fund innovative, sustainable and
transferable programs that have the potential to improve care for people
with chronic hepatitis C by providing care coordination, emotional or
other needed support.
Sixteen grant recipients were selected out of 110 applicants from a wide
variety of academic institutions, professional medical societies,
community-based organizations and patient advocacy groups. Two
categories of grants were awarded (up to $50K and up to $250K) to
applicants who best demonstrated a creative approach to patient-centered
care with a measurable impact on the future of hepatitis C management.
These programs have a special focus on people with hepatitis C who are
most in need of services and support including those living in rural
areas, African Americans, those with a history of IV drug use and those
facing serious mental illness.
"As a company, our commitment to people with hepatitis C extends far
beyond our efforts to develop new medicines. To stem the tide of this
epidemic, we need to work with the community to remove barriers and
connect people with appropriate and fully-supported care," said Camilla
Graham, M.D., Vice President of Global Medical Affairs for Vertex. "We
hope these grants will fund programs to identify, evaluate and share new
patient-centered approaches that will help people with hepatitis C get
the best care possible."
Programs were selected by a multidisciplinary group of experts, which
included three reviewers external to Vertex who represent the hepatitis
C community: Andrew J. Muir, M.D., M.H.S., director of GI/hepatology
research at Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University; Tracy
Swan, Hepatitis/HIV Project Director for the Treatment Action Group; and
Lucinda K. Porter, R.N., Hepatitis C Support Project (HCSP) board
member, community educator and writer, along with Vertex staff.
Examples of selected 2011 Hep-C Circle of Care programs:
San Francisco General Hospital Foundation/Positive Health Program at
SFGH (San Francisco, CA) will foster a primary care-based model to
increase hepatitis C education, evaluation and treatment in diverse
settings serving marginalized and vulnerable people in San Francisco.
The Frederick County Hepatitis Clinic, Inc. (Frederick, MD) will
implement a call-back program to engage patients with advanced genotype
1 hepatitis C, conduct patient education programs and update materials
O.A.S.I.S. Clinic (Organization to Achieve Solutions in
Substance-Abuse) (Oakland, CA) will develop a hepatitis C toolkit
for drug treatment programs to improve the care and treatment of persons
at highest risk for hepatitis C.
VOCAL-NY (Brooklyn, NY) will implement a systems change project
to improve hepatitis C care coordination and collaboration in New York's
opioid treatment programs to rapidly scale up access to hepatitis C care.
Malama Pono Health Services (Lihue, HI) will identify challenges
and successes in linking people living with hepatitis C to medical care
in a rural, geographically contained environment through peer support
and case management.
University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (HepTREC) (Philadelphia,
PA) will develop tools for use at patient intake and during
treatment decision-making to facilitate care coordination in hepatitis C
Key learnings from the programs funded by the Hep-C Circle of Care
initiative will be discussed during a gathering in the fall of 2012,
during which grant recipients will share findings from their program
implementation and discuss the potential to enhance the programs and
replicate them in other areas.
This special grant program is independent of other Vertex grants
programs, which include substantial support for medical education,
patient education and general charitable donations. For more information
on these programs, please visit grants.vrtx.com
About Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus,
which is spread through direct contact with the blood of infected people
and ultimately affects the liver.2 Chronic hepatitis C can
lead to serious and life-threatening liver problems, including liver
damage, cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer.2 Though
many people with hepatitis C may not experience symptoms, others may
have symptoms such as fatigue, fever, jaundice and abdominal pain.2
Unlike HIV and hepatitis B virus, chronic hepatitis C can be cured.3
However, approximately 60 percent of people do not achieve SVR4,5,6 or
viral cure7, after treatment with 48-weeks of P/R alone. If
treatment is not successful and a person does not achieve a viral cure,
they remain at an increased risk for progressive liver disease.8,9
More than 170 million people worldwide are chronically infected with
hepatitis C.7 In the United States, nearly 4 million people
have chronic hepatitis C and 75 percent of them are unaware of their
infection.1 Hepatitis C is four times more prevalent in the
United States compared to HIV.1 The majority of people with
hepatitis C in the United States were born between 1946 and 1964,
accounting for two of every three people with chronic hepatitis C.10
Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantations in the United
States and is reported to contribute to 4,600 to 12,000 deaths annually.
11,12 By 2029, total annual medical costs in the United States for
people with hepatitis C are expected to more than double, from $30
billion in 2009 to approximately $85 billion.1
Vertex creates new possibilities in medicine. Our team discovers,
develops and commercializes innovative therapies so people with serious
diseases can lead better lives.
Vertex scientists and our collaborators are working on new medicines to
cure or significantly advance the treatment of hepatitis C, cystic
fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy and other life-threatening
Founded more than 20 years ago in Cambridge, MA, we now have ongoing
worldwide research programs and sites in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
Today, Vertex has more than 1,900 employees around the world, and Science
magazine named Vertex number one on its 2011 list of Top Employers in
the life sciences.
For more information and to view Vertex's press releases, please visit www.vrtx.com.
(VRTX - GEN)
Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements
regarding grants described in this press release funding new and
existing programs with the potential to enhance patient care and
Vertex's commitment to people with hepatitis C. While the company
believes the forward-looking statements contained in this press release
are accurate, there are a number of factors that could cause actual
events or results to differ materially from those indicated by such
forward-looking statements. Those risks and uncertainties include the
risks listed under Risk Factors in Vertex's annual report and quarterly
reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available
through Vertex's website at www.vrtx.com.
Vertex disclaims any obligation to update the information contained in
this press release as new information becomes available.
1 Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Hepatitis
and liver cancer: a national strategy for prevention and control of
hepatitis B and C. Colvin HM and Mitchell AE, ed. Available at: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2010/Hepatitis-and-Liver-Cancer-A-National-Strategy-for-Prevention-and-Control-of-Hepatitis-B-and-C.aspx.
Updated January 11, 2010. Accessed March 21, 2011.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C
Fact Sheet: CDC Viral Hepatitis. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/PDFs/HepCGeneralFactSheet.pdf.
Accessed March 21, 2011.
3 Pearlman BL and Traub N. Sustained Virologic Response to
Antiviral Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection: A Cure and So
Much More. Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Apr;52(7):889-900.
4 Manns MP, McHutchison JG, Gordon SC, et al. Peginterferon
alfa-2b plus ribavirin compared with interferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin
for initial treatment of chronic hepatitis C: a randomised trial. Lancet.
5 Fried MW, Shiffman ML, Reddy KR, et al. Peginterferon
alfa-2a plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C virus infection. N
Engl J Med. 2002;347:975-982.
6 McHutchison JG, Lawitz EJ, Shiffman ML, et al; IDEAL Study
Team. Peginterferon alfa-2b or alfa-2a with ribavirin for treatment of
hepatitis C infection. N Engl J Med. 2009;361:580-593.
7 Ghany MG, Strader DB, Thomas DL, Seeff, LB. Diagnosis,
management and treatment of hepatitis C; An update. Hepatology. 2009;49
8 Morgan TR, Ghany MG, Kim HY, Snow KK, Lindsay K, Lok AS.
Outcome of sustained virological responders and non-responders in the
Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis (HALT-C)
trial. Hepatology. 2008;50(Suppl 4):357A (Abstract 115).
9 Veldt BJ, Heathcote J, Wedmeyer H. Sustained virologic
response and clinical outcomes in patients with chronic hepatitis C and
advanced fibrosis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007; 147: 677-684.
10 Pyenson B, Fitch K, Iwasaki K. Consequences of hepatitis C
virus (HCV): Costs of a baby boomer epidemic of liver disease. Available
Updated May 2009. Accessed March 21, 2011. This report was
commissioned by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
11 Volk MI, Tocco R, Saini S, Lok, ASF. Public health impact
of antiviral therapy for hepatitis C in the United States. Hepatology.
12 Davis GL, Alter MJ, El-Serag H, Poynard T, Jennings LW.
Aging of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected persons in the United States:
A multiple cohort model of HCV prevalence and disease progression. Gastroenterology.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
Kalmar or Zachry Barber, 617-444-6992
Nikki Levy, 617-444-0573
Source: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
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