Avon Products, Inc. Launches National Fundraising Program for ALS TDI to Advance Treatments for ALS

Nov 01, 2011, 09:05 ET from ALS Therapy Development Foundation

Necklace Named in Honor of Avon Executive Recently Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) and the Avon Products, Inc. (Avon) announced today a fundraising campaign to fund research into effective treatments for ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).  The campaign includes the production of a new item called the "Sophia Smith Yellow Rose Necklace" being added to its catalog and with all proceeds going to support research at ALS TDI.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110204/DC42625LOGO).

Sophia Smith of Victoria, Texas, started part-time with Avon in 1986 and quickly excelled as a sales Representative, becoming a senior executive and member of the Avon sales leadership team in 1992.  She is a mother of three and an avid motorcyclist.  In November 2010, Sophia was diagnosed with ALS. Currently, there are no effective treatments or cure for the disease.

"Sophia has always been an inspiring member of the Avon family and it was heartbreaking for all of us to learn of her ALS diagnosis. Tragically, a cure for this debilitating disease may not come in time to help Sophia, but she wants to ensure that others have a fighting chance.  We are taking a stand with her and are supporting Sophia through this fundraising campaign," said Andrea Jung, chairman & CEO of Avon.

"With the help of Avon, we hope to build awareness and accelerate the pace of research to find an effective treatment for ALS patients. Sophia is an inspiration, her strength and courage is admired by those around her," said Steve Perrin, Ph.D., president, CEO and CSO of the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

Each necklace costs $9.99 and can be purchased through an Avon Representative or online by clicking "fundraising" at www.avon.com starting today. The necklaces will be available for a limited time only.

About ALS Therapy Development Institute
The mission of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is to develop effective therapeutics that slow or stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease), as soon as possible. Focused on meeting this urgent unmet medical need, ALS TDI executes a robust target discovery program, while simultaneously operating the world's largest efforts to preclinically validate potential therapeutics; including a pipeline of dozens of small molecules, protein biologics, gene therapies and cell-based constructs. The world's first nonprofit biotech, ALS TDI has developed an industrial-scale platform that allows for the development and testing of dozens of potential therapeutics each year. Built by and for patients, the Institute is the world's only nonprofit biotechnology company with more than 30 professional scientists. In addition, the Cambridge, Massachusetts based research Institute collaborates with leaders in both academia and industry to accelerate ALS therapeutic development. For more information, please visit us online at www.als.net.

About Avon Products, Inc.
Avon, the company for women, is a leading global beauty company, with over $10 billion in annual revenue. As the world's largest direct seller, Avon markets to women in more than 100 countries through approximately 6.5 million active independent Avon Sales Representatives. Avon's product line includes beauty products, as well as fashion and home products, and features such well-recognized brand names as Avon Color, ANEW, Skin-So-Soft, Advance Techniques, Avon Naturals, and mark. Learn more about Avon and its products at www.avoncompany.com.

Avon global philanthropy has donated more than $800 million in more than 50 countries for causes most important to women. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses its funding on breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade – which has donated more than $700 million globally – and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Avon also responds generously to provide support for relief and recovery efforts in times of major natural disasters and emergencies.

CONTACT: Jennifer Vargas, Avon, jvargas@avon.com, +1-212-282-5404, or Robert A. Goldstein, ALS TDI, rgoldstein@als.net, +1-617-441-7295

SOURCE ALS Therapy Development Foundation