Patient groups across the UK now have the opportunity to bid for a slice of £50,000 with the launch of Sanofi's annual bursary scheme.

Now in its fourth year, the Patient Group Bursary Scheme supports organisations "where promoting the needs and interests of patients is at the heart of their work", says the Paris, France-headquartered drugmaker.

Not-for-proft groups can apply for a Gold or Silver grant of £25,000 and £15,000, respectively, and this year's scheme includes, for the first time, a £10,000 grant for any group with a yearly income of under £300,000, to help boost applications from smaller charities.

"Sanofi has a strong history of working in partnership, both at the brand and corporate level, with patient groups to develop initiatives that improve patient care on both a national and local level," Ian Weatherhead, Communications Director, Sanofi UK and Ireland, told PharmaTimes World News online, noting that the scheme "makes a huge difference to the lives of patients and their families and carers". 

Lynne Regent, chief executive of last year's Gold winner Anaphylaxis Campaign, said the cash helped the group to widen its support to parents with children affected by severe food allergies.

“Specialist training programmes for our ten new support group volunteers means we can now provide high quality peer-to-peer support for other families dealing with the consequences of life-threatening allergies," she said.

The response to the scheme, says Wheatherhead, has been "incredibly positive" with almost 200 applications over the last two years.

Since its birth in 2011 it has awarded bursaries to eight organisations working within a wide range of disease areas, and Weatherhead stressed the importance of continued support "so these innovative and life changing campaigns can continue".

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