The Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF), founded by George Soros, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and several philanthropic investors, has announced the launch of Global Access Health (GAH), a social enterprise that will seek to expand access to affordable medical technology.
As part of this initiative, the group has financed the acquisition of UK-based Mologic, a developer of lateral flow and rapid diagnostic technologies.
The members of GAH will invest at least £30 million ($41 million) in this deal.
WHY IT MATTERS
Mologic develops tests that can help combat tropical diseases such as dengue, bilharzia, and river blindness, as well as for COVID-19.
SEDF’s investments in GAH and GAD are part of a portfolio of recent investments made in service of Open Society Foundations’ commitment to expanding global access to affordable, public health products and technologies.
The initiative will aim to achieve this through decentralised research, development, and manufacturing in and for the global south.
The transaction will give the project the ability to address gaps in the provision of global diagnostics in low-income communities and regions.
“Testing, or diagnostics, are vital for everyday public health needs, to enable doctors and medical professionals to provide patients with proper treatment as early as possible,” said Roxana Bonnell, a public health expert at the Open Society Foundations. “As we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to testing is absolutely essential when it comes to containing the spread of contagious disease—an issue that ultimately affects us all.”
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Recently, Indian healthcare solutions provider HealWell24, together with actress and philanthropist Gul Panag, has launched its latest web platform that provides a space for doctors and patients to connect.
ON THE RECORD
Sean Hinton, SEDF’s chief executive officer, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has painfully demonstrated the fundamental inequities in global public health, and in particular the crucial importance of access in low- and middle-income countries to low-price, high-quality life-saving diagnostic tools. In this unique transaction, philanthropic funds and investors are working together with a skilled and visionary management team in a truly innovative way to address at least one part of that failure by enabling a cutting edge commercial business to focus all its resources on solving one of the world’s most pressing public health issues.”
Mark Davis, CEO of Mologic, said: “Mologic’s transition into a social enterprise is a deliberate, logical and natural step for a company focused on delivering affordable diagnostics and biotechnology to places that have been left underserved by the relentless pursuit of profiteering. With the support of our shareholders, donors and partners we have come a long way; we believe we have the people and the skills required for the challenges and opportunities ahead. And we hope this unique transaction will be an example for others to follow.”