Roche enters partnership with the Global Fund to support low- and middle-income countries in strengthening critical diagnostics infrastructure

RocheRoche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), through its Global Access Program, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are joining forces to build and strengthen diagnostic capacity and pandemic preparedness in low-and middle-income countries fighting against HIV and tuberculosis (TB).

About 2 billion people worldwide are estimated to be infected with tuberculosis, with 95% of TB deaths occurring in LMICs. Of more than 37 Million people living with HIV globally, over 6 Million people are undiagnosed. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many HIV and TB programs, resulting in HIV testing rates falling by 22% and an estimated additional 100 000 deaths from tuberculosis in LMICs in 2020.(1,2)

Roche and the Global Fund have joined forces to improve the diagnosis of HIV and TB in LMICs by building local capacity to tackle fundamental infrastructure challenges for generating and delivering diagnostic results and managing healthcare waste.

This includes building effective processes to collect, transport, test samples and return the results to patients for timely clinical interventions, as well as addressing challenges arising from a lack of network infrastructure, workforce capacity, access to roads, and IT systems. The partnership will also include novel approaches to reduce the environmental and economic burden of healthcare waste generated during the testing process itself and the disposal of instruments and medical devices at the end of its/their useful life.

"Roche is excited to join forces with the Global Fund and their partners to support countries in developing critical diagnostic networks in the global fight against HIV and TB.", said Thomas Schinecker, CEO of Roche Diagnostics."Connecting our experts with critical local stakeholders, we are aiming to help build sustainable solutions that could be scaled across countries."

"Getting people to test for HIV and TB is fundamental to containing transmission and enrolling people on treatment, which are crucial steps to saving lives and ending these diseases as public health threats," said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "We are pleased to partner with Roche in expanding access to diagnostics tools for HIV and TB. These efforts will strengthen the fight against these diseases and help the world prepare better for future pandemics."

Through collaboration with the Global Fund, Ministries of Health and country-based partners, Roche will first support assessments and implementation of new technologies and knowledge transfer in 2 to 3 pilot countries, with the ambition to scale up and expand support in 10 countries over the next five years.

About the Global Access Program

In 2014, Roche first launched its Global Access Program to support the UNAIDS 2020 targets to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since then, the program was expanded to include solutions for other high-burden diseases such as Tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis B and C (HBV and HCV), and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Most recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 test was included into the program. The program is designed to support end-to-end, sustainable, local solutions that build capacity and strengthen healthcare systems, with a focus on diagnostics and laboratory networks.

The continual expansion of offerings highlights Roche's commitment to eliminate high burden infectious diseases for patients living in resource-constrained settings with limited access.

Any laboratory that implements a Roche instrument system gains the ability to scale up testing across multiple disease areas, thus increasing efficiency with respect to limited resources or time. An integrated approach supports national programs focused on increasing access to diagnostic testing, to help manage or reduce the impact of preventable disease for patients.

About The Global Fund

The Global Fund is a worldwide movement to defeat HIV, TB and malaria and ensure a healthier, safer, more equitable future for all. We raise and invest more than US$4 billion a year to fight the deadliest infectious diseases, challenge the injustice which fuels them and strengthen health systems in more than 100 of the hardest hit countries. We unite world leaders, communities, civil society, health workers and the private sector to find solutions that have the most impact, and we take them to scale worldwide. Since 2002, the Global Fund has saved 44 million lives.

About Roche

Founded in 1896 in Basel, Switzerland, as one of the first industrial manufacturers of branded medicines, Roche has grown into the world’s largest biotechnology company and the global leader in in-vitro diagnostics. The company pursues scientific excellence to discover and develop medicines and diagnostics for improving and saving the lives of people around the world. We are a pioneer in personalised healthcare and want to further transform how healthcare is delivered to have an even greater impact. To provide the best care for each person we partner with many stakeholders and combine our strengths in Diagnostics and Pharma with data insights from the clinical practice.

In recognizing our endeavor to pursue a long-term perspective in all we do, Roche has been named one of the most sustainable companies in the pharmaceuticals industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the thirteenth consecutive year. This distinction also reflects our efforts to improve access to healthcare together with local partners in every country we work.

Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.

1. The Global Fund 2022. Geneva: Fight for what counts. Investment case.
2. Global tuberculosis report 2021. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021

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