Wellcome Trust invests in Japanese Global Health Fund

The Wellcome Trust has entered into a new partnership with the Japanese Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) – a collaboration that will help support the development of new tools to tackle infectious diseases that devastate the world’s poorest people.

The Trust joins existing funders that include six Japanese pharmaceutical companies, the Japanese Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the past two years, the GHIT Fund has invested approximately 4.3 billion Japanese yen (approximately £22.6 million) in promising R&D projects. Its newest action is expanding its technology scope to include diagnostic tests and its disease portfolio to include leishmaniasis.

The Wellcome Trust will today become a key GHIT funding partner with a grant of £3 million. The Trust will also join the GHIT Selection Committee and will provide an ex-officio observer to the GHIT Board of Directors.

GHIT Fund CEO, Dr BT Slingsby, said: "In just two years of existence, the GHIT Fund is proving to be a model of effective collaborative funding when it comes to finding new drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests for infectious diseases of the poor. We are grateful for the vote of confidence in the GHIT Fund and its mission that is signalled by the new partners who are joining us today."

Dr Richard Seabrook, Head of Business Development at the Wellcome Trust, added: "The Ebola crisis served as a stark reminder of the devastating potential of infectious diseases. But when that epidemic finally subsides there remains countless other infections threatening the health of the world’s poorest populations. By partnering with GHIT, the Wellcome Trust hopes to bring the very best of Japanese science to bear in tackling this critical unmet need."