The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of a consortium led by the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF) in acquiring Mologic, a British company that specializes in the development of rapid-testing technology, including for Covid-19 and various tropical diseases.
Gates and Soros are investing at least £30m ($38.5m) into Mologic to turn it into a social enterprise. This means that Mologic is to be rebranded as Global Access Health (GAH) as part of its transition to a non-profit social enterprise.
Due to this transition, GAH will be able to completely reinvest all profits to pursue the goal of equalizing opportunities for healthcare globally.
A leader in rapid testing presents a unique opportunity
Mologic was co-founded in 2003 by Mark Davis and his father Paul Davis. CEO Mark Davis has said the deal was a “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.”
This presents a unique opportunity for Mologic to attempt to address fundamental inequalities in access to healthcare globally, which have been highlighted even more by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In July 2021, a report by the Financial Times highlighted the threat the Delta variant of Covid-19 presents in countries in the Global South, broadly referring to regions including Latin America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania that it is feared will be left behind as more affluent countries continue their vaccination and rapid-testing rollout.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that only 1.5% of the population of the whole African continent are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and deaths had increased by over 40% week-on-week.
This highlights the opportunity and need for the work that Mologic has been doing, Chairman of the SEDF Sean Hinton highlighted how philanthropic funds and investors are working together with Mologic’s skilled management team in an innovative way to “enable a cutting-edge commercial business to focus all its resources on solving one of the world’s most pressing public health issues.”
Expanding low-cost medical technology
Mologic 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. As well as lateral flow, Mologic is a world leading innovator in rapid diagnostic technologies including tests that can help combat tropical diseases such as dengue, bilharzia, and river blindness.
As part of the transition, GAH will integrate both Mologic and Mologic’s sister company, Global Access Diagnostics (GAD). GAD is focused on lowering the cost of manufacturing diagnostic tests to make them more widely available in the Global South, and licenses Mologic’s technology in South Asia as well as Africa.
Despite transitioning into GAH, Mologic will continue to have Mark Davis as CEO and Paul Davis as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), and GAD will continue to run as a separate social enterprise, although both will be under the governance of GAH.
As well as Soros’ SEDF, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, there are various other philanthropic investors and funds participating in GAH to further develop the ambition of the organization to provide equal access to healthcare across the whole world.