NEW YORK, Dec. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Royalty Pharma plc (Nasdaq: RPRX) today announced charitable contributions totaling $7,660,000 to support important COVID-19 research at The Rockefeller University, Mount Sinai Health System and Columbia University. This amount includes donations from Royalty Pharma plc of $4,880,000 and personal contributions from Pablo and Almudena Legorreta of $2,880,000. Neither Royalty Pharma plc nor Pablo and Almudena Legorreta will receive any economic benefit in exchange for any aspect of these donations.
“Royalty Pharma is committed to supporting academic research centers and teaching hospitals that are on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pablo Legorreta, founder & CEO of Royalty Pharma. “These gifts are intended to advance innovative COVID-19 healthcare solutions, from novel antibodies and assays to much needed studies about seroprevalence, vaccine response, including in predominantly Latino/Hispanic and Black communities, and the mental health burden of healthcare professionals dealing with the pandemic.”
Gift to The Rockefeller University
Gifts totaling $5,760,000 to The Rockefeller University, of which half will be donated by Royalty Pharma and the other half by Pablo and Almudena Legorreta personally, will support the late-stage research and clinical development of a new antibody-based therapy designed to fight SARS-CoV-2. The focus will be a pair of broadly neutralizing antibodies that Dr. Nussenzweig, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues isolated from the blood of people who had recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using molecular technologies they developed, they were able to identify and clone the genes that produce the most powerful anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The investigational antibody combination is designed to bind to two distinct sections of the spike protein, blocking the virus’ ability to infect human cells. A Phase I trial of the new investigational antibody therapy is expected to begin at Rockefeller’s Hospital imminently.
Rockefeller University President Richard P. Lifton noted, “Antibody treatments will be a crucial part of our medical armamentarium against COVID-19, even with the availability of new vaccines. Antibodies can provide acute or chronic protection for individuals whose immune systems cannot adequately respond to a vaccine, and also serve as an effective therapeutic for people in the early stages of infection. “We are tremendously grateful for this transformative gift at this key moment,” continued Dr. Lifton. “Pablo and his Royalty Pharma colleagues have been extraordinarily helpful partners, providing expertise and wise counsel, as well as critical funding, throughout the SARS-CoV-2 antibody development process.”
Gift to the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
A second gift totaling $1,000,000 to the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons will be used to fund the following three studies:
- ARMOR STUDY: COVID-19 Seroprevalence and Mental Health Burden Among Healthcare Workers. (ARMOR = ANTIBODY RESPONSE MONITORING FOR OCCUPATIONAL RESILIENCE)
- MODIFICATION ARMOR STUDY: Understanding antibody, innate and cellular immune responses to COVID vaccines: defining durability of immune responses in a cohort of health care workers
- ARMOR-VAX-UP: Uptake of COVID-19 vaccines and persistence of serological responses in a cohort of predominantly Latino/Hispanic and Black communities.
“We are deeply grateful for this exceptional gift which will advance our COVID-19 research. This gift holds the promise to benefit the lives of millions. On behalf of both patients and healthcare providers, ours and myriad others throughout the world, we give our heartfelt thanks,” said Donald W. Landry, M.D., Ph.D., Hamilton Southworth Professor of Medicine, chair, Department of Medicine, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Physician-in-Chief, NYP/Columbia.
Gift to Mount Sinai Health System and the Mount Sinai’s Center for Post-COVID Care
A third gift totaling $1,000,000 to Mount Sinai Health System will be used to support:
- Mount Sinai’s Center for Post-COVID Care (CPCC) and Post-COVID Registry: The CPCC has cared for more than 20,000 patients with COVID-19, providing an invaluable look at the many ways this virus attacks and affects the body. With an estimated 30-35% of COVID-19 survivors suffering from a variety of chronic conditions, the CPCC has proven essential in helping patients address the unique symptoms caused by this virus.
“The Mount Sinai Center for Post-COVID Care and COVID-19 Registry was established to treat and study the long-term consequences of COVID-19 infection,” said Juan Wisnivesky, MD, Professor of Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine and Co-Director of the CPCC. “Patients will be followed with yearly exams to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the cardiopulmonary system, renal function, immune function, neurological system, mental health and other organs. We are also creating a biorepository to perform analyses that can further unveil the biological impact of COVID-19 infection.”
- The research of Dr. Florian Krammer into a novel, quantitative assay to pinpoint antibodies for SARS-CoV-2: Dr. Krammer and his team were the first in the nation to screen for viral antibodies by creating a novel, quantitative assay to pinpoint antibody levels (titers) for SARS-CoV-2 which are vital for vaccine development as well as to evaluate individual susceptibility to disease and population immunity.
“We are conducting studies that follow individuals who already have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 through infection or vaccination and monitor these antibodies over time,” said Florian Krammer, PhD, “Based on this data and potential breakthrough infections, we are determining the level of antibodies that is needed to provide protection.”
“Mount Sinai has boldly faced the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic with dynamic ideas and limitless clinical and scientific efforts that have moved as quickly as the virus has spread in our communities. This generous gift makes it possible to continue the important work ahead,” said Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs at Mount Sinai Health System.
Other COVID-19 Related Donations
The above charitable donations build on the initial contributions that Royalty Pharma made to the Mount Sinai Health System, Good Samaritan Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University earlier in the pandemic where the company donated over $1,000,000 worth of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) when they were in short supply.
About Royalty Pharma plc
Founded in 1996, Royalty Pharma is the largest buyer of biopharmaceutical royalties and a leading funder of innovation across the biopharmaceutical industry, collaborating with innovators from academic institutions, research hospitals and not-for-profits through small and mid-cap biotechnology companies to leading global pharmaceutical companies. Royalty Pharma has assembled a portfolio of royalties which entitles it to payments based directly on the top-line sales of many of the industry’s leading therapies. Royalty Pharma funds innovation in the biopharmaceutical industry both directly and indirectly – directly when it partners with companies to co-fund late-stage clinical trials and new product launches in exchange for future royalties, and indirectly when it acquires existing royalties from the original innovators. Royalty Pharma’s current portfolio includes royalties on more than 45 commercial products, including AbbVie and J&J’s Imbruvica, Astellas and Pfizer’s Xtandi, Biogen’s Tysabri, Gilead’s HIV franchise, Merck’s Januvia, Novartis’ Promacta, and Vertex’s Kalydeco, Symdeko, Orkambi and Trikafta, and four development-stage product candidates. For more information, visit www.royaltypharma.com.
Royalty Pharma plc’s Forward-Looking Statements
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