PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s philanthropy arm is donating 5 million euros to the Pasteur Institute of Lille, France for research to help fight the coronavirus, stepping in with a boost for a project as it began to show significant promise.
The institute noted researchers had identified a molecule that has been “particularly effective” in fighting Sars-Cov-2, the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19, and plan to launch large scale clinical trials to test it as a possible treatment.
“I am proud of this discovery that was made by research teams in the north, the region where I am from, and greatly hope that their work will come to fruition rapidly,” said Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH in a statement from the institute. The luxury executive remarked that the institute’s discovery had incited “enormous hope for treatment.”
Citing the importance of carrying the research further, Arnault noted that was why he decided to offer support for the crucial phase of clinical trials.
“I am thrilled that the LVMH group has joined our support circle today with a significant donation that will allow us to begin a new phase in our research against COVID-19,” said Xavier Nassif, who heads the Pasteur Institute of Lille, thanking Arnault, the luxury executive’s family and LVMH.
The institution, which invests 17 million euros in research a year, funded in part by philanthropic corporate donations, noted that it was contacted by LVMH just after revealing initial results in fighting the virus.
European luxury groups and their brands have stepped in to help with COVID-19 efforts, donating funds to hospitals, making sanitary gel and and procuring masks for public authorities.
LVMH ordered 40 million masks from a Chinese industrial supplier to address the shortage in French hospitals and retooled its perfumes and cosmetics production units to manufacture and distribute large quantities of hydroalcoholic gel.
Kering’s COVID-19 efforts, meanwhile, include donations to the Hubei Red Cross Foundation in China, major Italian hospitals and the CDC Foundation in the U.S., as well as financing research at the Pasteur Institute in France.
In an example of a luxury label funding COVID-19 research, Bulgari, which belongs to LVMH, in June created the Virus Free Fund to finance research related to seeking cures to viruses. It supports the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome and the Rockefeller University in the U.S, and purchased a high technology microscope for researchers.
The fund also covers four years of doctorate studies for two students, while the Bulgari Clinical Fund will support clinical testing of new therapies, drugs and vaccines to fight COVID-19.