Bill Gates and George Soros join buyout of Covid test developer Mologic

£30m investment in British company will help boost medical technology across the developing world

FILE PHOTO: Bill and Melinda Gates attend the Presidential Medals of Freedom ceremonies  in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 22, 2016.    REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo
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Billionaires Bill Gates and George Soros have joined the acquisition of UK company Mologic, which helped develop Covid-19 rapid lateral flow tests.

With backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Soros Economic Development Fund, an arm of Mr Soros’s Open Society Foundations, will invest at least £30 million ($41.1m) to improve the standard of medical technology in the developing world.

As part of the deal, Mologic and a non-profit sister company Global Access Diagnostics will be integrated into a new enterprise called Global Access Health.

"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,” said SEDF chief executive Sean Hinton.

“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.”

Mologic, set up in 2003, has developed tests for tropical diseases such as dengue, bilharzia and river blindness. It was established by Prof Paul Davis – who also helped create ClearBlue, the world’s first home pregnancy test – and his son Mark.

“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,” said Mark Davis, chief executive of Mologic.

“With the support of our shareholders, donors and partners, we have come a long way; we believe we have the people and the skills required for the challenges and opportunities ahead. And we hope this unique transaction will be an example for others to follow.”

Updated: July 19, 2021, 11:10 AM