Partnering for Cure to kick off with debate on HIV cure at European AIDS conference
(PARIS, France, October 16, 2013) – Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) announced today at the 14th European AIDS Conference (EACS) in Brussels the launch of Partnering for Cure, a scientific initiative to support education and research and to transform clinical outcomes for patients with chronic viral diseases, namely HIV, hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV). The initiative, which confirms BMS’ commitment in virology, is rooted in the company’s legacy in virology and ongoing research in HIV and viral hepatitis.
The Partnering for Cure initiative is led by an expert panel of clinical and research experts from across Europe, including Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the UK. Composed of three core components – education, scientific exchange and scientific research – the programme will focus on reviewing current treatment paradigms, providing a forum for discussion on the evolution of treatment towards cure and facilitating research seeking novel cure pathways in chronic viral diseases.
Following a first meeting in six sites on September 16, today’s Partnering for Cure satellite symposium at EACS will put HIV cure ‘on trial’, with faculty members arguing for and against the case that cure is possible. Audience members will be given the opportunity to vote on the evidence presented.
“We need this programme: a programme to cure HIV, HBV and HCV,” said Christine Katlama, Partnering for Cure Faculty Chair, from the Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris. “We have so many patients across the world and we need a cure. The answer is in the lab, the answer is also in the clinical field and there is a lot to do. We need to move forward and work together and Partnering for Cure is a fantastic opportunity to do just that.”
Chronic viral infections make a substantial contribution to the burden of chronic diseases and premature mortality worldwide. In December 2012, the Global Burden of Disease Study reported 1,465,000 deaths caused by HIV/AIDS and 1,445,000 deaths caused by viral hepatitis in 2010.[i] Infections with hepatitis B and C viruses also cause an estimated 57% of cases of liver cirrhosis and 78% of cases of primary liver cancer annually.[ii] Whilst important advances have been made over the last decade, particularly in HIV, significant unmet needs and the opportunity for cure remains.
Bristol-Myers Squibb has been actively involved in virology research and development since the 1980s, initially focusing on HIV but more recently on HBV and HCV. “This is an important and ambitious programme that reflects our genuine engagement in virology,” said George Hanna, Vice President, HIV Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “It is a way to showcase the BMS commitment to cure in chronic viral infections and to advance investigational compounds - with novel mechanisms of action - that aim to address unmet clinical needs in HIV, HBV and HCV. Along with our ongoing research in virology, we remain steadfast in our pursuit of partnership platforms with policy, advocacy and healthcare professional stakeholders.”
As part of the Partnering for Cure programme, Bristol-Myers Squibb will also support three independent research projects focused on improving current understandings of HIV, HBV and HCV and creating novel treatment and cure strategies. Research applications will be accepted via the website, www.bms.com/israpplications until October 31, 2013 and will be subject to blind evaluation by the Partnering for Cure faculty.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Virology Support Programmes
Like Partnering for Cure, Bristol-Myers Squibb supports a number of scientific and educational programmes within the virology community around the world that encompass disease education, disease awareness and sharing of best practices. These include SHE® (Strong, HIV positive, Empowered Women/Strong, HIV positive Women Educational Programme), a comprehensive and innovative programme for women living with HIV and their healthcare providers and PATH B® (Patients and professionals acting together for hepatitis B), a joint initiative between hepatitis patient groups and hepatologists to provide comprehensive information and support for patients with chronic hepatitis B.
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[i] Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, The Lancet, Volume 380, No9859, Dec 15, 2012, p2053-2260
[ii] WHO and WHA, Global Policy Report on the Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis, 2013,