The , a new impact investing vehicle developed by the , , and , has announced a collaborative agreement with UK-based biotechnology firm to fund the rollout of a molecular diagnostic platform for tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.
Under the terms of the agreement, Epistem will issue a five-year convertible GHIF-backed bond totaling $8 million to facilitate the distribution and sale of its Genedrive platform and growing menu of infectious disease assays in low- and middle-income countries. With the investment, GHIF will leverage its network to support Epistem in the final stages of clinical testing and regulatory approval as well as the subsequent rollout of the Genedrive platform, which is expected to offer affordable, specific, and rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases at or near the point of care.
"There is a critical need for improved diagnostic devices that are designed for resource-limited settings....Globally, nearly ten million cases of tuberculosis are reported annually, resulting in approximately one million premature deaths each year. However, it is estimated that of the ten million cases, up to one-third are either not diagnosed, or if diagnosed, are not screened for drug resistance," said GHIF fund manager Christopher Egerton-Warburton. "Epistem's Genedrive platform offers the opportunity to diagnose a broad range of infectious diseases, with its first test in tuberculosis seeking to identify the presence of the disease and detecting drug resistance accurately, quickly, and at an affordable cost."