Aurinia Awards $250,000 in Grants to Support Patient Navigation Programs

Five patient organizations will receive funds to implement plans aimed at reducing health disparities, connecting people living with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis (LN) with needed health management resources

ROCKVILLE, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AUPH / TSX: AUP) (the Company) today announced the recipients of five $50,000 grant awards to support implementation patient navigation programs targeted toward disadvantaged populations at most risk of developing SLE and LN. Each non-profit patient-focused organization will receive funds to support their proposed one-year pilot programs with the goal of helping people living with these conditions to navigate the complexities of diagnosis and disease management, support better adherence to medical appointments and treatments, and provide customized resources and education.

“The RFP process was competitive, and we were pleased to receive so many thoughtful and creative submissions for this first-ever Aurinia initiative,” said Christine Lindsay, Vice President, Professional and Advocacy Relations. “The five recipients were awarded grants based on their demonstrated ability to collaborate with key lupus centers, rheumatologists, and nephrologists, their ability to measure program outcomes, and ultimately, provide individualized support to underserved populations.”

Navigation programs will be launched in the following cities:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
    Lupus Foundation of America Georgia Chapter in collaboration with the Grady Lupus Clinic
  • Brooklyn, New York
    The Health Science Center of Brooklyn Foundation in collaboration with SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
  • Cleveland, Ohio
    Lupus Foundation of America Ohio Chapter in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Health
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
    Lupus Foundation of America Indiana Chapter in collaboration with Eskenazi
    Hospital, Lupus Clinic, and Indiana University Hospital
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Lupus Foundation of America Tri-State Chapter in collaboration with Temple University Hospital Lupus Program

“The need for a patient navigator program at our institution, and many like ours, is enormous. It has long been recognized that racial and ethnic characteristics influence outcome in patients with SLE. Black (African American and Afro-Caribbean) and Hispanic SLE patients have more severe disease than white patients, with higher mortality and a more rapid accrual of irreversible damage," says Ellen M. Ginzler MD, MPH, Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine Chief, Rheumatology Division, SUNY Downstate Health Science University. “We are pleased and honored to work with The Health Science Center of Brooklyn Foundations to implement a student-led navigator program and to work to reduce health disparities, stressing early diagnosis, and providing compassionate high quality care to immigrant, at-risk, and underserved individuals.”

“Twenty years ago, very few spoke of lupus. There was little awareness and understanding of the signs and symptoms and very little investment in research. We have made great progress, but we must do more as we have lost too many too early of all ages, and we cannot rest,” states Sam Lim, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Emory University, Chief of Rheumatology – Grady Health System, and Director of the Grady Lupus Clinic. “We are eager to work with the Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia chapter, to implement a patient navigator program that will mitigate the barriers to health equity by improving patient adherence to treatment, provider-patient communication, patient mental and physical health, and, most importantly, outcomes.”

Aurinia funded patient navigator programs launch on July 1 and grant recipients will convene regularly to share lessons learned, best practices, and community needs that can be addressed through navigation services throughout the 1-year grant period.

About systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis (LN)

LN is a serious manifestation of SLE, a chronic and complex autoimmune disease. Approximately one out of three of these individuals with SLE will develop LN. If poorly controlled, LN can lead to permanent and irreversible tissue damage within the kidney, resulting in kidney failure. Black and Asian individuals with SLE are four times more likely to develop LN and individuals of Hispanic ancestry are approximately twice as likely to develop the disease when compared with Caucasian individuals. Black and Hispanic individuals with SLE also tend to develop LN earlier and have poorer outcomes when compared to Caucasian individuals.

About Aurinia

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on delivering therapies to treat targeted patient populations that are impacted by serious diseases with a high unmet medical need. The Company’s head office is in Victoria, British Columbia, its U.S. commercial hub is in Rockville, Maryland, and the Company focuses its development efforts globally.

Glenn Schulman, PharmD, MPH
Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, Aurinia

Dana Lynch
Corporate Communications, Aurinia

Source: Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc.