BVGH Announces Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant to Expand Biotech Industry?s Role in Fight Ag

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Four-year, $5.4 million grant will help companies overcome market and funding barriers

BIO Ventures for Global Health today announced it will expand its efforts to enlist biotechnology companies in the fight to improve global health, with a new $5.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. BVGH is a nonprofit venture founded last year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, with support from the Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. The announcement was made at BIO 2005, the biotech industry?s annual convention.

?The biotech industry has tremendous potential for developing new therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics against diseases of the developing world,? said Richard Klausner, MD, executive director of the Gates Foundation?s Global Health program. ?For too long, funding, market, and information barriers have prevented biotech companies from realizing this potential. We believe that BIO Ventures for Global Health will provide the means to help industry overcome some of these barriers. We congratulate BVGH in taking leadership in helping to bring the potential of biotechnology to improving health equity in our world.?

The new grant will help BVGH launch a series of business cases to assess and build market opportunities for neglected diseases. Companies are deterred by an insufficient understanding of developing world markets and many lack the capacity to generate this knowledge on their own. To evaluate whether to invest in a technology, they need information on potential market demand and pathways to get products tested, licensed and distributed. BVGH will fill that gap. The business cases, a tool used regularly by industry, will explore new models for tapping into emerging markets. BVGH?s first business case will evaluate the market opportunity for tuberculosis vaccines.

“This grant represents a historic shift in thinking about how to engage the biopharma sector in addressing the unmet health needs of people in developing countries,” said Rob Chess, Chairman of BVGH. “We understand the business of biotech and are seeking ways to translate that knowledge into solutions that improve the lives of individuals in the poorest regions of the world.”
Press release found here.

Source: BIO Ventures for Global Health