A group of philanthropic funds and investors have financed the acquisition of all existing shares of Mologic, which creates lateral flow and rapid diagnostic technologies.
Led by the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF), the consortium is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The group, which will invest nearly $41m (£30m) in the transaction, has launched a social enterprise named Global Access Health (GAH).
GAH intends to boost access to cost-effective medical technology via decentralised research, development and production in and for the Global South.
Mologic has been integrated into GAH, changing a for-profit company into a social enterprise and enabling the company to completely reinvest its profits in pursuing its objectives.
The deal will help Mologic deliver affordable diagnostics in low and middle-income markets, the company noted.
SEDF CEO Sean Hinton said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has painfully demonstrated the fundamental inequities in global public health, and in particular the crucial importance of access in low and middle-income countries to low-price, high-quality life-saving diagnostic tools.
“In this unique transaction, philanthropic funds and investors are working together with a skilled and visionary management team in a truly innovative way to address at least one part of that failure by enabling a cutting-edge commercial business to focus all its resources on solving one of the world’s most pressing public health issues.”
Founded in 2003, Mologic’s portfolio includes tests for tropical diseases, including dengue, bilharzia, river blindness, and a test for Covid-19.
The company’s technology has widespread use across markets and disease states where quick and precise point-of-need testing can aid patient care and outcomes.
Mologic CEO Mark Davis said: “Mologic’s transition into a social enterprise is a deliberate, logical and natural step for a company focused on delivering affordable diagnostics and biotechnology to places that have been left underserved by the relentless pursuit of profiteering.”
As part of the deal, Mologic’s sister non-profit entity, Global Access Diagnostics (GAD), will also be merged into GAH.
Founded in April last year, GAD develops diagnostic tests at reduced production charges and licences Mologic’s technology in Africa and South Asia.
Davis will continue as CEO of Mologic and GAD will operate as a separate non-profit firm with Mark Radford as its CEO.