Friday
September 16
2011

Scott Anderson

Friday Roundup – 8-16-11: An MD, Mathematician Leads Gates? Health Initiative

Sorry for the absence of last week’s Friday Roundup, but we were so cram packed with SOCAP11 coverage that I didn’t want to interrupt the flow. Speaking of SOCAP, you can find our complete coverage here.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this week announced it would tap Dr. Trevor Mundel, currently the global head of development at Novartis AG, to lead the Gates Global Health Program. According to the foundation, Mundel has shepherded 140 clinical projects and oversaw a $3 billion budget while at Novartis.

In addition to his scientific chops, Mundel also is a mathematician, reportedly with a penchant for modeling and simulation according to this BioITWorld article. He has previously been hired by the likes of Alkermes Inc., Parke-Davis, Pfizer Inc., and Novartis itself, to speed up basic research into new, marketable drugs, reports ScienceInsider. Clearly, he’s someone who understands how to manage scale and plan ahead; Novartis has managed to avoid the woes of Pfizer and other giants who have suffered from blockbuster drugs going generic, without new ones to replace them.

Mundel’s charge at Gates is to find the most effective (and cost effective) drugs, vaccines and medical devices throughout the developing world. The obvious (potential) implication of his appointment is the already rigorous Gates’ process could go to the next level in terms of requiring evidence-based impact from its grantees.

Opportunities

There’s still time to get your firm into Wantrapreneur, the India social business plan competition managed through Unconvention. Sept. 30 is the application deadline for Wantrapreneur, which attracts market-ready enterprises focused on agriculture and rural social needs.

Those interested hearing directly from entrepreneurs on how to scale up successful social ventures the right way, mark your calendars for the Nexus Conference, set for Oct. 19 at Santa Clara University. Speakers include:

  • Radha Basu, Executive Director, Anudip
  • Ronni Goldfarb, President & CEO, Equal Access
  • Lisa Jobson, Assistant Director, iEARN
  • Joel Selanikio, CEO and Co-Founder, DataDyne
  • Marianne Allison, CIO, Waggener Edstrom
  • Penelope Douglas, President HUB Bay Area & SOCAP
  • John Kohler, Co-founder, Toniic
  • Al Hammond, Sr. Entrepreneur, Ashoka
  • Keynote Presentation by Kristine Pearson, CEO, Lifeline Energy

Plan for a panel-based discussion to start, with later opportunities to speak one on one with the presenters as well as 2011 Tech Laureates who will give their elevator pitches as well.

Meanwhile, Global Microcredit Summit, set for Nov. 14-17, this week announced two important additions to its speaker lineup. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox will chair the plenary session “Challenges to the Field and Solutions: Over-Indebtedness, Client Drop-Outs, Unethical Collection Practices, Exorbitant Interest Rates, Mission Drift, Poor Governance Structures and More.” Also added was Groupe Danone Chairman and CEO Franck Riboud, who will join Muhammad Yunus on the Summit plenary titled, “Social Business and Microfinance: Building Partnerships with Corporations and Other Entities To Speed the End of Poverty.” For a 10 percent discount, register for the Summit online by Sept. 30 using the code: MCSDIS.

Shout Out

A quick congrats out to the winners of the eBay Foundation and Ashoka Changemakers’ Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World That Works social entrepreneurship competition. They include, Solidarium Fair Trade (Brazil), Grameen Foundation: Mobile MicroFranchising in Indonesia (Indonesia), Fundacion Paraguaya: The Financially SelfSufficient School Model: Economically Empowering Education for LowIncome Youth (Paraguay), Twin Cities RISE!: Nonprofit Innovation through PayforPerformance Funding (U.S.). We’ll be looking to follow up with these enterprises in more detail here on NextBillion. In the meantime, check out this Fast Company summary on a few of the winners.

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