Washington Post Examines New Organization Dedicated to Providing Poor Countries With Biotechnology
The Washington Post on Sunday examined "an ambitious new plan" to be announced Tuesday, in which the trade group Biotechnology Industry Organization, plans to join forces with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a new not-for-profit organization dedicated to "solving the business problems that small biotechnology companies confront in trying to create products for poor countries." Most private investors "simply aren't interested" in developing treatments for infectious diseases for use in developing countries, leaving the task to smaller companies, the Post reports. However, few of the companies "have figured out business plans that might allow them to take a product all the way through the development cycle and put it on the market for use in poor countries," according to the Post. The goal of the new BIO Ventures for Global Health is to arrange deals, worth between $3 million and $15 million each, in which foundations and other groups will help fund U.S. development of new medical treatments for malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases to be deployed overseas. According to the Post, the group also will "cultivate expertise to help small companies pick their way through the complex business issues associated with using cutting-edge genetic technology to develop products that have to be sold overseas at very low prices." Wendy Taylor, CEO of BIO Ventures for Global Health, said, "We are thinking of this as a bold experiment. These biotech chief executives are entreprenuers, and they'd love to be able to come up with the world's first malaria vaccine or HIV vaccine. They need not only the money to move the projects forward, but tools to help them think about operating in these markets." To launch BIO Ventures for Global Health, the Gates and Rockefeller foundations contributed more than $1 million each; however, it is not clear how much additional funding will be available from the Gates Foundation or other donors (Gillis, Washington Post, 6/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.