RARE Daily

GBT Commits $250,000 to Support Sickle Cell Disease Community During COVID-19 Pandemic

April 3, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

Global Blood Therapeutics said it has committed $250,000 to support the sickle cell disease community in the United States at a time of immediate and overwhelming need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company has established the GBT Community Fund through which GBT will provide $150,000 in grants for United States non-profit organizations that are supporting the acute needs of patients and their families during the crisis. GBT has also made a donation of $100,000 to the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) in response to its urgent call for its COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

“In the face of COVID-19, many individuals and families living with sickle cell disease are facing serious and overwhelming challenges as a result of the pandemic, leaving them with a wide range of critical needs,” said Ted Love, president and CEO of GBT.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a lifelong, inherited blood disorder in which red blood cells are abnormally shaped in a crescent, or “sickle” shape, which restricts the flow in blood vessels and limits oxygen delivery to the body’s tissues, leading to severe pain and organ damage. It is also characterized by severe and chronic inflammation that worsens vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs) during which patients experience episodes of extreme pain and organ damage. GBT’s Oxbryta was approved in the United States as a treatment for SCD in adults and children 12 years and older in November 2019.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified SCD as one of the underlying medical conditions that may increase the risk of a serious COVID-19 infection, as people with SCD are often immune-compromised and at a greater risk for infections. Additionally, sickle cell care requires a multidisciplinary approach to address the varied consequences of the disease, and access to care can always be challenging but especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this time of crisis, many SCD patients and family members struggle to access critical services and require help to meet their basic needs, including access to food, water, other daily supplies, protective gear, transportation, mental health services, and more. The GBT Community Fund will disperse $150,000 in grants to address these needs and help fund direct relief for patients and families in the SCD community.

To ensure that this emergency support quickly reaches the sickle cell community, GBT has established a simple and rapid grant application process. Any U.S. non-profit organization working to address the immediate needs of the SCD community is eligible to apply for individual grants. Grant applications will be accepted until Friday, April 17, 2020, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. More information about the GBT Community Fund, including instructions on applying for a grant, can be found here.

In addition to the GBT Community Fund, GBT has made an immediate donation of $100,000 to the SCDAA, the largest patient organization in the U.S. dedicated to SCD, in response to its call for urgent support for its COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

“Right now, we in the sickle cell disease community are facing an unparalleled challenge due to the ever-changing pandemic, and it’s vital that we work together to support those who are most impacted,” said Beverley Francis-Gibson, president of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. “With GBT’s support, we surpassed our initial goal of raising $100,000 in 10 days and now have critical resources to deploy to our non-profit member organizations that are on the front lines supporting the urgent health, economic and other basic needs of sickle cell disease patients.”


Photo: Ted Love, president and CEO of GBT

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