Bayer Commits to 5-Year Pact with WFH to Help Hemophilia Patients in Underserved Countries

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by Mary Chapman |

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AMT-061 Phase 3 trial

A new five-year alliance between Bayer and the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) Humanitarian Aid Program will deliver training, education and treatments to healthcare professionals in more than 60 underserved countries.

”Three out of four people with bleeding disorders living in developing countries do not have access to adequate treatment, which can have a fatal impact,” Alain Weill, WFH president, said in a press release. “The WFH Humanitarian Aid Program helps fulfill this urgent and important public health challenge, and its efforts would not be possible without the support of companies such as Bayer.”

As one of the program’s new lead sponsors, Bayer this year will provide 50 million international units of its recombinant factor VIII (rFVIII), an essential blood-clotting protein, to some 5,000 hemophilia A patients. The disease, which affects up to 85% of those with hemophilia, is caused by mutations in the gene that holds instructions to produce factor VIII. Through bloodstream injections, the lab-produced therapy replaces the missing or faulty factor.

“Bayer’s contribution to the program will make a significant difference to nearly 5,000 people living with hemophilia A,” said Weill. “Today’s announcement serves as an example of how partnerships enable us to continue providing access to treatment for those in need, regardless of where they live.”

The pharmaceutical and life sciences company’s backing also will help the program provide education and training. For example, more healthcare professionals will learn how to accurately and safely administer treatments for acute bleeding episodes, prophylaxis (preventive) treatment for young children, and corrective surgeries. The sponsorship also aims to ensure the program has an enduring community presence.

“Having partnered with the hemophilia community over the past 30 years, we have a deep understanding of the evolving needs and aspirations of people with hemophilia and recognize the importance of ensuring FVIII treatments, which are the standard of care, are available worldwide,” said Michael Devoy, MD, head of medical affairs and pharmacovigilance of Bayer AG’s pharmaceuticals division, and Bayer’s chief medical officer.

”The WFH is a leader in addressing the global unmet need of those living with hemophilia, and we are proud to be supporting this initiative.”

Last year alone, more than 18,400 patients were treated through the program — more than the total number of patients receiving therapy from 1996 to 2016. Also in 2018, 1,546 patients got prophylactic treatment, and 58,458 acute bleeds were treated. In addition, 685 surgeries were performed.

Globally, roughly 400,000 individuals are affected by hemophilia, including 20,000 in the United States.

The WFH Humanitarian Aid Program works to improve access to hemophilia care and treatment in developing countries. Established in 1963, the WFH is a global network of patient organizations in 140 nations.