The gene and cell therapy field saw its first approved treatments in Europe in 2012 and the United States in 2017 and is projected to be at least a $10B USD industry by 2025. Despite this success, a massive gap exists between the companies, clinics, and researchers developing these therapeutic approaches, and their availability to the patients who need them. The unacceptable
reality is a geographic exclusion of low-and middle-income countries (LMIC) in gene therapy development and ultimately the provision of gene therapies to patients in LMIC. This is particularly relevant for gene therapies to treat human immunodeficiency virus infection and hemoglobinopathies, global health crises impacting tens of millions of people primarily located in LMIC. Bridging this divide will require research, clinical and regulatory infrastructural development, capacity-building, training, an approval pathway and community adoption for success and sustainable affordability. In 2020, the Global Gene Therapy Initiative
was formed to tackle the barriers to LMIC inclusion in gene therapy development. This working group includes diverse stakeholders from all sectors and has set a goal of introducing two gene therapy Phase I clinical trials in two LMIC, Uganda and India, by 2024. Here we report on progress to date for this initiative.
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