GBT Supports Sickle Cell Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic

GBT Supports Sickle Cell Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic
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Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) is taking proactive measures to support public health efforts and sickle cell disease (SCD) patients during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

To help stem the spread of the coronavirus, the company is backing public health strategies, including social distancing. Specifically, GBT is temporarily prohibiting all field team in-person interactions, including visits to physicians, clinics, hospitals and payers.

The suspension is effective until April 7, at which time GBT will reassess the situation. In the meantime, the company continues to provide online education and is ramping up digital outreach to healthcare professionals and insurers.

Also, in keeping with local public health directives, non-essential employees at GBT headquarters in south San Francisco, are now working from home.

“As a company focused on serving the needs of the sickle cell disease community, we believe that we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 transmission during this pandemic by limiting direct interactions and embracing virtual communications,” Ted W. Love, MD, GBT’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

“We are taking these steps in the interest of public health so that we can do our part to slow the trajectory of the illness. We appreciate and thank our nation’s healthcare professionals, who are on the front lines and are continuing to provide quality care to our most vulnerable populations, including those with sickle cell disease,” Love said.

The company believes it has enough of its SCD treatment, Oxbryta (voxelotor), to last into 2021.

GBT also seeks to assure SCD patients that GBT Source, the company’s support program for those prescribed Oxbryta, remains available to help with new enrollments and reimbursement, as well as financial, co-pay, treatment adherence, and refill support.

SCD is caused by a mutation in the HBB gene that provides instructions for making a hemoglobin component. The mutation results in an abnormal hemoglobin molecule that causes red blood cells to become stiff and elongated into a sickle shape, which can make them get stuck inside blood vessels and reduce oxygen delivery to body tissues.

Voxelotor, the active ingredient in Oxbryta, is a small molecule that binds to hemoglobin and raises its affinity for oxygen. Treatment with Oxbryta also may block the formation of hemoglobin complexes (called polymerization) and prevent deformation of red blood cells, which improves blood flow and oxygen delivery.

A confirmatory Phase 3 trial named HOPE Kids 2 (NCT04218084) is recruiting participants to test Oxbryta in children age 2–14 who have SCD.

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has also studied Biochemistry at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. His work has ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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