Bill Gates Buys Mologic a Disease Testing Company
Social Enterprise set up by group of philanthropic funds led by George Soros’ Economic Development Fund, with support from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
New venture aims to expand affordable access to medical technology in low- and middle-income countries
Mologic and sister company, Global Access Diagnostics (GAD) integrated under Global Access Health
New York, 19 July 2021: A group of philanthropic funds and investors led by the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is today announcing the launch of Global Access Health (GAH), a social enterprise that will seek to expand access to affordable state-of-the-art medical technology through decentralized research, development, and manufacturing in and for the Global South.
The group has financed the acquisition of Mologic Ltd, a world leading innovator in the development of lateral flow and rapid diagnostic technologies including tests that can help combat tropical diseases such as dengue, bilharzia, and river blindness, as well as for COVID-19.
The members of GAH will invest at least £30 million ($41 million) in this deal.
The transaction is important in that it transitions a world-class for-profit company into a social enterprise and allows it to entirely reinvest its profits in pursuing these goals. This transformation will give it the ability to address gaps in the provision of global diagnostics in low-income communities and regions that profit-focused business has failed to address.
SEDF is the impact investment arm of the Open Society Foundations. 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.”
Mologic was established in 2003 by Mark Davis and his father Professor Paul Davis, one of the original creators of ClearBlue, the world’s first home pregnancy test. Mologic’s technology has broad application across markets and disease states where rapid, accurate point-of-need testing can help make a significant difference in patient care and patient outcomes. Its extensive work in developing affordable testing for neglected tropical diseases has been supported by grant funding from a range of donors, and most significantly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mark Davis, CEO of Mologic, welcomed the conclusion of the deal: “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.”
“Testing, or diagnostics, are vital for every day 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.”
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