Renewed commitment to Japanese global health fund

Wellcome has renewed its commitment to the Japanese Global Health Innovative Technology fund (GHIT), which aims to develop live-saving health innovations for some of the world’s poorest people. 

Wellcome, the Japanese government, private companies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have collectively committed over US$200 million to support GHIT’s next phase of work.

GHIT invests in research and development (R&D) projects to develop new medicines, vaccines and diagnostics to address a range of infectious diseases.

This renewed funding will allow GHIT to move the most advanced tools out of the lab and into the hands of those who need them most. 

Wellcome first supported GHIT in 2015 with a £3m grant for two research projects that aimed to find new treatments for malaria and tuberculosis.

The new joint commitment for GHIT’s second phase is double the initial US$100m investment it received when it was created in 2013. 

"In just four years, the GHIT’s unique public-private partnership model has dramatically increased the global health community’s capacity to develop technologies that can effectively battle the infectious diseases that afflict roughly one-third of the world’s population," says BT Slingsby, GHIT CEO. "This work is moving us closer to achieving universal health coverage and human security goals."

GHIT's achievements

GHIT has helped speed up the discovery and development of a number of innovative technologies, including the first ever paediatric formulation of the gold-standard drug for schistosomiasis, a water-borne parasitic disease linked to numerous acute and chronic health conditions. 

In its second five-year phase, GHIT plans to advance R&D product development to ensure that innovations developed in the lab become practical solutions to tackle diseases.

Stephen Caddick, Wellcome's Director of Innovations, says: "Japan has an outstanding science base and an exceptional culture of innovation, which, along with its excellent pharmaceutical industry, makes it ideal for the rapid advancement of new ways to diagnose and treat disease.

"We’re proud to support GHIT and to work with the partners to develop drugs, vaccines and diagnostics as quickly as possible, and to put them in the hands of the billions of people around the world who need them most."