GHIT Funds Grand Challenges

The GHIT Fund and the Gates Foundation have joined hands to tackle infectious diseases that plague the developing world.

AsianScientist (Feb. 9, 2015) – The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) has launched a Grand Challenges initiative to support the development of drugs, vaccines or diagnostics for the developing world.

Named “Target Research Platform in Partnership with Grand Challenges”, the initiative will invest up to ¥100 million (US$1 million) for early stage development and approximately ¥200 million (US$2 million) in Grand Challenges grant investments per year. These projects will then graduate into GHIT’s regular investment program which invests in a pipeline of new tools for neglected diseases.

The GHIT Fund is a public-private partnership between six Japanese pharmaceutical companies, the Japanese Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in April 2013 with an initial commitment of more than US$100 million, the organization taps Japanese research and development to fight neglected diseases.

First launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 10 years ago, the Grand Challenges contest was created to foster creative and daring breakthroughs to help solve the world’s most pressing global health and development problems. Since then, more than 2,000 grants have been awarded in some 80 countries with many organizations and nations, from India to Brazil to Canada, modeling their own Grand Challenges on the same ideal.

The GHIT Fund’s Grand Challenges is the first for Japan and will harness Japanese innovation and global collaboration to target malaria, tuberculosis, Chagas disease and visceral leishmaniasis—diseases that sicken and kill the poorest people in the world. The investments will support global partnerships between Japanese and non-Japanese organizations.

“Grand Challenges offers a model on which we can expand our grantmaking from supporting product development to supporting a crucial, earlier phase of R&D—discovery of new approaches, concepts, constructs and solutions to fight neglected infectious disease,” said Dr. BT Slingsby, CEO and executive director of the GHIT Fund.

“This new platform in partnership with Grand Challenges will bring together trailblazers with unique and powerful scientific expertise to come up with possible solutions,” said Dr. Trevor Mundel, president of the global health division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The application for the GHIT Fund’s “Target Research Platform in Partnership with Grand Challenges” opened on February 5, 2015, with the first round of investments expected to be announced in August 2015. Applicants must submit an “Intent to Apply” form by March 15, 2015. Click here to view the request for proposal.


Source: GHIT Fund.
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