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Gilead Sciences And World Health Organization Establish New Five-Year Initiative To Prevent Deaths From Visceral Leishmaniasis.

New Delhi, Dec. 13 -- Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) announced today that it will donate 445,000 vials of AmBisome(R) (amphotericin B liposome for injection) over five years to help the World Health Organization (WHO) treat more than 50,000 patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala-azar.

Visceral leishmaniasis is widespread in South Asia and the Horn of Africa, where it affects hundreds of thousands of people annually. Without treatment, the mortality rate is close to 100 percent. In the Indian subcontinent, where VL is endemic, the WHO Leishmaniasis Expert Committee recommends single-dose AmBisome as the safest, most effective treatment for the disease. AmBisome is approved for the treatment of VL in the United States.

"This commendable donation means that every AmBisome vial will contribute to saving a life," commented Dr. Jorge Alvar, who heads WHO's Leishmaniasis programme in the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. "We hope that this commitment by Gilead will encourage other partners to join the fight in overcoming this neglected tropical disease."

"Gilead is proud to expand our long-standing partnership with WHO," said John C. Martin, PhD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gilead Sciences. "We continually seek to identify new ways to increase access to our anti-infective therapies, and have the highest regard for WHO's efforts to combat VL worldwide. Working in conjunction with health ministries, WHO will now be able to save more lives by expanding patient access to AmBisome."

Gilead has supported WHO's leishmaniasis control program since 1992. Currently Gilead offers AmBisome through the company's access program at no-profit pricing - or pricing that is at or below Gilead's manufacturing cost - in a number of countries hardest hit by VL. If sold at Gilead's no-profit access price, today's donation would cost more than $8 million. The company also donates AmBisome for use in clinical studies aimed at identifying the most effective VL treatment regimens.

These initiatives are part of the Gilead Access Program, which aims to provide wider access to the company's medications to affected populations in the developing world. The Access Program is currently delivering branded or generic versions of Gilead's HIV therapies to 1.8 million patients in developing countries.

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Publication:India PRwire
Date:Dec 13, 2011
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