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Report Highlights Efforts to Deliver Long-term Sustainable Value for Patients and Communities and Advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Corporate Governance
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) (NASDAQ: GBT), a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to meeting the needs of underserved patient communities starting with sickle cell disease (SCD), today released its inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) report, which highlights GBT’s efforts to deliver long-term sustainable value for SCD patients and more broadly for the communities in which it serves and operates.
“Since our founding, GBT has been focused on areas in which we believe we can make the largest impact and deliver the greatest value. Our business strategies, values and social purpose have been intentionally woven together, ensuring ESG is always at the core of our business. Every day, GBT employees around the world work to advance our goal to transform the lives of people living with SCD and other underserved orphan diseases – while upholding our ethics and values in all that we do,” said Ted W. Love, M.D., president and chief executive officer of GBT. “We’re proud of the progress we’ve made thus far, guided by the cultural values that are in our DNA as a company. Our first ESG report comes at a pivotal moment for SCD patients, as new medicines are becoming more broadly available but significant equity gaps remain. Our report demonstrates our progress toward advancing our ESG journey and our shared commitment to a sustainable future built through Hope, Science and Community.”
GBT’s inaugural ESG report focuses on four key areas for delivering long-term sustainable value for its business and society:
improving access to affordable healthcare, to improve the lives of patients;
investing in communities and GBT employees, to power the company’s ability to deliver for patients;
increasing environmental sustainability, as health equity and environmental health are related; and
upholding ethics and values, which are the foundation of everything GBT does.
Highlights from the ESG report include:
Affordable Access to Treatment
GBT is advancing health equity by taking a leadership role in transforming the treatment of SCD through scientific innovation and ensuring that communities of color have access to its medicines, including Oxbryta® (voxelotor), a first-in-class therapy that directly addresses the root cause of red blood cell sickling in SCD. Since it was founded in 2011, GBT has invested more than $750 million in research and development of investigational agents for the potential treatment of SCD, including $212 million in 2021. This investment underscores GBT’s belief that innovation is essential to addressing the fundamental health equity issues and systemic barriers to care faced by SCD patients.
GBT regularly engages with SCD patients, caregivers and community-based organizations via ongoing advisory boards, hosting the annual SCD Therapeutics Conference, and supporting educational events and programs. In addition, GBT formed the Social Empowerment Council, which advises GBT on ways to best apply its expertise and resources for the benefit of the SCD community. GBT also formed The Council for Sickle Cell Disease Healthcare Equity, which is focused on creating a unified advocacy voice to bring forth broad programs impacting healthcare for people with SCD, as well as SCD research and education.
Employees and Communities
GBT is committed to fostering a diverse values-driven culture that cultivates and develops talent reflective of the communities where its employees live and work and which advances corporate citizenship. Since 2021, the company has released workforce composition data as part of its ongoing commitment to transparency. GBT’s team represents a broad range of cultural and professional backgrounds, enriching its corporate culture and driving its potential growth and long-term success. As of December 31, 2021, 56% of the company’s employees were female (63% of senior management) and 55% were people of color (38% of senior management).
One of the most salient features of GBT’s workplace diversity and inclusion strategies surrounds pay equity for all employees. Since 2020, GBT has engaged an independent third party to assess its pay equity practices, with results confirming its pay practices are equitable without significant discrepancies based upon gender or ethnicity. For the past two years, GBT has been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), a framework that helps bring transparency to gender-related practices and policies at publicly-listed companies around the world.
In 2021, GBT donated more than $2.3 million to U.S. community-based organizations and institutions, including from its Access to Excellent Care for Sickle Cell Patients (ACCEL) Program, as well as other initiatives. The company also established The GBT Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to improve the health and well-being of underserved patient communities locally and around the world, particularly for people living with SCD.
GBT noted its commitment to reducing its footprint to protect the environment and reduce health impacts from climate change. With much of the SCD global patient population and caregiver base located in underserved communities, GBT works with those who are often the hardest hit by climate-related disasters and other environmental impacts. In 2020, GBT moved to a new South San Francisco headquarters office, which was built with purpose as part of a sustainable campus and awarded LEED Silver certification. GBT’s other efforts to preserve the environment include using technology to reduce energy and water consumption; reducing, reusing and recycling its resources when practicable; partnering with third-party organizations for the ethical treatment of animals in research; and promoting employee commuting programs.
Ethics and Values
GBT engages all stakeholders and operates with the highest standards of integrity and transparency in its research operations, sales and marketing, in line with its cultural values. GBT trains all of its employees annually on its Code of Business Conduct and Ethics to reinforce its commitment to operating with integrity and fostering a culture of compliance that creates ownership by every employee with mechanisms for raising and addressing concerns and promoting collaboration. Specific to ESG, GBT’s Board of Directors has responsibility for overseeing GBT’s strategy, with execution led by functional experts throughout the company and support from the senior management team.
About Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease (SCD) affects more than 100,000 people in the United States,1 an estimated 52,000 people in Europe,2 and millions of people throughout the world, particularly among those whose ancestors are from sub-Saharan Africa.3 It also affects people of Hispanic, South Asian, Southern European and Middle Eastern ancestry.4 SCD is a lifelong inherited rare blood disorder that impacts hemoglobin, a protein carried by red blood cells that delivers oxygen to tissues and organs throughout the body.4 Due to a genetic mutation, individuals with SCD form abnormal hemoglobin known as sickle hemoglobin. Through a process called hemoglobin polymerization, red blood cells become sickled – deoxygenated, crescent-shaped and rigid.4,5,6 The sickling process causes hemolytic anemia (low hemoglobin due to red blood cell destruction) and blockages in capillaries and small blood vessels, which impede the flow of blood and oxygen delivery throughout the body. The diminished oxygen delivery to tissues and organs can lead to life-threatening complications, including stroke and irreversible organ damage.5,6,7,8 Complications of SCD begin in early childhood and can include neurocognitive impairment, acute chest syndrome, and silent and overt stroke, among other serious issues.9
About Global Blood Therapeutics
Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of life-changing treatments that provide hope to underserved patient communities, starting with sickle cell disease (SCD). Founded in 2011, GBT is delivering on its goal to transform the treatment and care of SCD, a lifelong, devastating inherited blood disorder. The company has introduced Oxbryta® (voxelotor), the first FDA-approved medicine that directly inhibits sickle hemoglobin (HbS) polymerization, the root cause of red blood cell sickling in SCD. GBT is also advancing its pipeline program in SCD with inclacumab, a P-selectin inhibitor in Phase 3 development to address pain crises associated with the disease, and GBT021601 (GBT601), the company’s next generation HbS polymerization inhibitor. In addition, GBT’s drug discovery teams are working on new targets to develop the next wave of potential treatments for SCD. To learn more, please visit www.gbt.com and follow GBT on Twitter @GBT_news.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements containing the words “will,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “believes,” “forecast,” “estimates,” “expects,” and “intends,” or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are based on GBT’s current expectations and actual results could differ materially. Statements in this press release may include statements that are not historical facts and are considered forward-looking within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. GBT intends these forward-looking statements, including statements regarding GBT’s priorities, commitment, dedication, focus, goals, mission, vision, and positioning; the safety, efficacy, and mechanism of action of Oxbryta, and other product characteristics; the commercialization, awareness, delivery, availability, use, and commercial and medical potential of Oxbryta; GBT’s ESG priorities and related activities and plans, including delivering sustainable value for patients, society and its business, and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion; advancing health equity, making an impact and delivering value; impacting the treatment, care, and course of SCD, mitigating related complications and transforming the lives of people living with SCD and other underserved orphan diseases; safety, efficacy, mechanism of action, advancement and potential of GBT’s drug candidates and pipeline; and working on new targets and discovering, developing, and delivering treatments, to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act, and GBT makes this statement for purposes of complying with those safe harbor provisions. These forward-looking statements reflect GBT’s current views about its plans, intentions, expectations, strategies, and prospects, which are based on the information currently available to the company and on assumptions the company has made. GBT can give no assurance that the plans, intentions, expectations, or strategies will be attained or achieved, and, furthermore, actual results may differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements and will be affected by a variety of risks and factors that are beyond GBT’s control, including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extent and duration of the impact on GBT’s business, including commercialization activities, regulatory efforts, research and development, corporate development activities, and operating results, which will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be accurately predicted, such as the ultimate duration of the pandemic, travel restrictions, quarantines, social distancing, and business closure requirements in the U.S. and in other countries, and the effectiveness of actions taken globally to contain and treat the disease; the risks that GBT is continuing to establish its commercialization capabilities and may not be able to successfully commercialize Oxbryta; risks associated with GBT’s dependence on third parties for research, development, manufacture, distribution, and commercialization activities; government and third-party payer actions, including those relating to reimbursement and pricing; risks and uncertainties relating to competitive treatments and other changes that may limit demand for Oxbryta; the risks regulatory authorities may require additional studies or data to support continued commercialization of Oxbryta; the risks that drug-related adverse events may be observed during commercialization or clinical development; data and results may not meet regulatory requirements or otherwise be sufficient for further development, regulatory review, or approval; compliance with obligations under the Pharmakon loan; and the timing and progress of activities under GBT’s collaboration, license and distribution agreements; along with those risks set forth in GBT’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as discussions of potential risks, uncertainties, and other important factors in GBT’s subsequent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required by law, GBT assumes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Sickle Cell Disease Research. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hemoglobinopathies/scdc-understanding-sickle-cell-disease.html. Accessed February 23, 2022.
European Medicines Agency. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/human/orphan-designations/eu3182125. Accessed February 23, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/data.html. Accessed February 23, 2022.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Sickle Cell Disease. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sickle-cell-disease. Accessed February 23, 2022.
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Steven Immergut (media)
Courtney Roberts (investors)