Helmsley Charitable Trust Announces Transformative Partnership With Civica Foundation to Make Insulin More Affordable to Americans With Insulin-dependent Diabetes
New York, NY, March 3, 2022 – The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the leading private philanthropy committed to the Type 1 diabetes community in the U.S. and around the world, announced today a $5 million grant to the Civica Foundation, joining with other leading organizations and philanthropies to support Civica, Inc.’s (Civica, Civica Rx) manufacturing and distribution of insulins, which will be available at significantly lower prices than the current insulins on the market.
Established in 2018, Civica, Inc. is a nonprofit pharmaceutical company with a mission to reduce and prevent chronic drug shortages in hospitals and the related price spikes that often accompany them. Using a transparent pricing model, Civica’s insulins will minimize out-of-pocket expenses, particularly benefiting all uninsured and underinsured Americans.
“The north star of Helmsley’s T1D Program has always been to improve the lives of individuals living with T1D and invest in a better tomorrow,” said David Panzirer, a Trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “This partnership presents a vital opportunity to invest in a bold idea that addresses a challenge faced by too many Americans living with insulin-dependent diabetes, including T1D: the high cost of insulin, a drug they need to survive. This is especially true among minority and low-income populations. There is a moral imperative to do better, and we’re proud to partner with Civica to improve affordability, outcomes, and quality of life for everyone who needs insulin to live.”
The insulins will be manufactured at Civica’s state-of-the-art 140,000 square-foot manufacturing plant, being built in Petersburg, Virginia, using drug substances produced in partnership with GeneSys Biologics. The facility, which is expected to be operational in early 2024, will have the capacity to produce a substantial amount of the insulin needed in the United States, with additional space to increase production if necessary.
In addition to partnering with Helmsley, Civica is collaborating with the following organizations that are helping to make this endeavor possible: Arnold Ventures, Beyond Type 1, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 12 independent BCBS companies (Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Hawaii, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, Blue Cross of Idaho, Blue Shield of California, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Florida Blue, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Independence Blue Cross), Gary and Mary West Foundation, Glen E. Tullman Fund, Intermountain Healthcare, JDRF, Kaiser Permanente, Peterson Center on Healthcare, Providence, Transcarent, and Trinity Health.
“Bold philanthropic partners have made it possible, with committed funds to date of over two-thirds of our $125M goal, for us to undertake this affordable insulin initiative,” said Ken Boyden, Executive Director of The Civica Foundation. “We are incredibly grateful for their leadership. They each have a passion for and commitment to building pathways to reliable drug access and affordability.”
T1D is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Over 20 million people worldwide are affected by this disease and rely on multiple doses of insulin per day to survive. Remarkably, insulin prices are more than eight times higher in the United States than other wealthy nations, and it is the only country in the world where individuals who have the least ability to pay for insulin are the ones who pay the most. As a result, day-to-day management of this disease is even more burdensome for those living with T1D in America, as well as their family members and caregivers.
“As a parent of two children with T1D, it is imperative to have access to a steady supply of insulin. People with T1D need insulin or they will die. When people are unable to afford insulin and start rationing or skipping doses, it amplifies the already significant short- and long-term health risks of this disease,” Panzirer said. “The philanthropic sector is obligated to be involved in bold efforts like this, and I am proud of the work that Helmsley and other partners are doing as part of this effort to increase access to affordable insulin and prioritize the overall wellbeing of individuals living with T1D. We look forward to the positive impact that this partnership will have on the T1D community.”
Civica will produce three insulins- glargine, lispro and aspart (biologics corresponding to, and interchangeable with, Lantus, Humalog and Novolog respectively) – each of which will be available in both vials and prefilled pens. Contingent on FDA approval, Civica anticipates that the first insulin (glargine) will be available for purchase as soon as early 2024.
More information on this initiative, including commentary from partners and a fact sheet, can be found at https://civicainsulin.org.