Department of Health and Human Services entered into a venture capital partnership To create a fund for technologies that can assist in responding to future public health emergencies.
HHS’s Office of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is collaborating with the non-profit Global Health Investment Corporation to launch a health protection fund.
Sandeep Patel, director of BARDA’s Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures, said in a phone interview, the agency will work with Global Health Investment Corporation to set priorities, and the nonprofit will operate the fund on its behalf.
BARDA will provide GHIC with a minimum of $50 million over five years, with the potential to grow to $500 million over 10 years. GHIC will collaborate with companies from around the world and structure investments with similar capital from private investors.
In addition to the funding, BARDA will provide guidance on the commercialization of products and will share its scientific and regulatory expertise with GHIC as it runs the fund.
Patel said the fund will invest in a range of technologies to better prepare for future public health emergencies. The focus will be on technologies that can be commercialized but also provide public benefit. Some examples of this would be drug discovery platforms that can help rapidly identify and screen antiviral drugs or new vaccine technology.
Although HHS has had the authority to create a fund, since the 21st Century Cure Act was enacted in 2016, it began at an opportune moment nearly four years later – on the heels of a once-in-a-century health crisis. on shoes.
Patel said, “Coming out of COVID-19, I think it is clear that there are a lot of technologies that we can invest in right now that will better prepare us for the next emergency, be it a pandemic or something. ” “[So] We need to start now.”
Venture capital interest in healthcare technology is currently on the rise with companies around the world raising a record-breaking total $31.6 billion in the first quarter of 2021. Companies with innovative technology are competing for these dollars and are not looking at the government as a potential source of funding. Patel said that through the new Health Protection Fund, Barda wants to reach out to those innovators.
“We want to make sure we reach them where they are and speaking their language,” he said.
The fund will also complement existing efforts by BARDA’s Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures, which includes supporting 37 companies through federal contracts, as well as a network of 13 accelerators supporting early-stage companies.
Photo: Drogtnev, Getty Images
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