“The private sector has enormous untapped capacity to help solve health problems in poor countries through innovative technology platforms; efficient manufacturing processes; the ability to validate business models and the viability of commercial products; and access to capital resources such as equipment and manufacturing plants,” writes Trevor Mundel, President of the Global Health Division of the Gates Foundation, on SciDevNet. He goes on to explain how the Foundation is, “helping young biotechnology companies advance early-stage development of potentially ground-breaking health solutions such as drugs and vaccines.”

The Foundation is not like venture capital investors, he explains   “Because the foundation’s investment activity is driven by charitable rather than financial goals, we can invest strategically in this high-risk period in product development.” It may not be what foundations have done traditionally but he’s convinced that it is the best use of Gates money and gives some persuasive examples

It’s a thoughtful piece that merits careful reading. I found it particularly interesting after moderating a London meeting on public private partnerships in global health (see the blog entry here)