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December 13, 2023

The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) yesterday honored Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) for their leadership in championing global health research and development (R&D) at its 2023 Innovating for Impact Awards, an annual initiative celebrating US policymakers and partnerships catalyzing global health innovation. GHTC also recognized the partners, led by ViiV Healthcare, that developed and are accelerating global access to cabotegravir long acting (CAB-LA) for HIV prevention—the first and only long-acting injectable option for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—for their efforts to advance this groundbreaking new product that could transform global HIV prevention efforts. 

Senator Chris Van Hollen, who is a member of both the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations and the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, was honored with a Congressional Champion Award for his longstanding work to grow funding for US biomedical research and global health programs and to advance smart policies to further their impact. “I am pleased to be on the appropriations committee, and not only using that platform to try to fully fund, for example, our efforts at NIH and all of our health research here at home, but also, the research here at home that has a direct benefit to people around the world,” Senator Van Hollen said in accepting the award. 

GHTC also recognized Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick with a Congressional Champion Award for his leadership in introducing the Supporting Innovative Global Health Technologies (SIGHT) Act to establish a new disease-agnostic research and development (R&D) program at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), as well his support of numerous other bills to bolster product development for tuberculosis, maternal and child health, epidemic preparedness, and antimicrobial resistance. “The United States must remain a world leader in health technology innovation, both at home and abroad. And I personally will always oppose any dangerous cuts to critical agencies that allow our nation to remain a leader in global health,” Congressman Fitzpatrick stated in prerecorded acceptance remarks.

GHTC also presented the Partnership Award to Dr. Kimberley Smith, head of research and development at ViiV Healthcare, who accepted the award on behalf of the many partners who have contributed to developing and advancing global access to CAB-LA for PrEP. As a discrete solution that reduces the frequency with which people must take HIV medicine from daily pills to as few as six injections per year, CAB-LA can help more people adhere to PrEP and reduce infections, particularly among at-risk women and girls.  

Developed by ViiV, with support from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and first approved in the United States in late 2021, CAB-LA for PreP is beginning to be rolled out in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) through a series of unique public-private partnerships. This includes projects funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to support countries in implementing and scaling up CAB-LA, as well as an agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to enable generic manufacturing of the product for use in LMICs.  

“It is literally humbling and a tremendous honor to be here to accept this partnership award on behalf of all of the partners,” said Dr. Smith. “This is a game changer, and I'm very much looking forward to the day when we can look back and say that this was the beginning of the end of the AIDS epidemic.

Dr. Smith from ViiV was joined in accepting the award by Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at NIH/NIAID; Dr. Emily Kainne Dokubo, deputy global AIDS coordinator for program quality at PEPFAR; Dianna Edgil, chief of the supply chain at USAID; Dr. Myron Cohen, principal investigator of the HIV Prevention Trials Network; and representatives from other organizations involved in advancing CAB-LA for PrEP. 

“GHTC is thrilled to honor Senator Van Hollen, Congressman Fitzpatrick, and the partners who advanced CAB-LA for PrEP with our Innovating for Impact Awards,” said Jamie Bay Nishi, executive director of GHTC. “History has shown us time and again just how important accessible health technologies, smart policymaking, and multisector partnerships are to confronting global health challenges. We’re delighted to be recognizing the outstanding work of our honorees who are driving innovation to advance global health progress.” 

During the awards reception, in recognition of 2023 being the year of the World Health Assembly resolution on strengthening diagnostic capacity, GHTC also featured a digital exhibit on diagnostic tools as an often underrecognized driver of global health progress. 

Now in its seventh year, the Innovating for Impact Awards celebrate US commitment to global health R&D and honor the multisector partnerships and policymakers helping to transform breakthrough scientific research into lifesaving technologies for unmet global health challenges.  

View photos from the event on Flickr.

Learn more about the initiative and past honorees.