Massachusetts-headquartered Alere Inc. announced on March 1 that it was awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation more than $20 million in grant money and debt financing of up to $20.6 million for the development of an inexpensive TB test and HIV test.
In a news release, Alere said the $21.6 million grant will be used to produce a tuberculosis assay for both resource-constrained and well-resourced settings. The fund will also support the company’s efforts to incorporate one of its isothermal amplification technologies for TB detection onto the Alere™ Q — a compact, portable, and robust device intended for molecular testing at the point of care.
Alere will also receive below-market loans of up to $20.6 million for the expansion of the company’s manufacturing facilities in Jena, Germany for both point-of-care TB tests and HIV tests. Gates Foundation’s only condition is to make the diagnostic tests affordable and available to people in need in developing countries.
“Providing affordable products that transform the way medicine is practiced, especially in resource-limited settings, is part of Alere’s heritage,” Alere CEO Ron Zwanziger said. “We are very excited to have the support of the Gates Foundation in fighting one of the most dangerous infectious diseases, and we remain committed to providing solutions that improve health outcomes for individuals living with HIV.”
For over a decade, Alere has been developing and providing solutions that support screening for the world’s worst diseases, such as TB and HIV. Its new product development efforts focus on cardiology, infectious disease, toxicology and diabetes.
“Alere has a track record of diagnostic innovation and leveraging cost-effective technologies to improve health outcomes for individuals living with HIV in the most remote parts of the world. The Gates Foundation has put its support behind the company to apply these same principles in addressing the TB epidemic and potentially saving millions of lives,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.