Press Release

June 3, 2015

GHIT Fund Welcomes the Wellcome Trust and Sysmex Corporation as New Funders and ANA, Morrison & Foerster, and Yahoo! Japan as New Sponsors

TOKYO (June 3, 2015)—The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) today welcomed partnerships with the UK’s largest charitable foundation and four major global companies—collaborations that will expand continued funding for research and development (R&D) of new tools to tackle infectious diseases that devastate the world’s poorest people.


Included in the collaboration are two new funding partners, the Wellcome Trust and Sysmex Corporation, which will join existing funders that include six Japanese pharmaceutical companies, the Japanese Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Also included are three corporate partnerships with Japan’s biggest airline ANA, law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP, and Yahoo! Japan, which will serve as sponsors of GHIT and its work.


“In just two years of existence, the GHIT Fund is proving to be a model of effective collaborative funding when it comes to finding new drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests for infectious diseases of the poor,” said GHIT Fund CEO Dr. BT Slingsby. “We are grateful for the vote of confidence in the GHIT Fund and its mission that is signaled by the new partners who are joining us today.”


The GHIT Fund has invested approximately ¥4.3 billion in 39 portfolio investments within the last two years in promising R&D projects, making it a significant market force in a chronically underfunded field, said Slingsby. GHIT has leveraged this ¥4.3 billion with ¥2.9 billion in co-investments culminating in a total leveraged portfolio of ¥7.2 billion. GHIT’s newest action is expanding its technology scope to include diagnostic tests and its disease portfolio to include leishmaniasis.


Diseases against which GHIT Fund is supporting development of new tools are malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases. For example, GHIT has a robust anti-malaria portfolio with over 14 investments in both new drugs and vaccines of over ¥1.2 billion in value. For schistosomiasis, the second most important parasitic infection after malaria in terms of public health and economic impact, the GHIT pipeline is one of the most robust in the world with a new pediatric drug formulation and a diagnostic test.


Global Charitable Foundation Joins GHIT Fund as Funding Partner


GHIT Fund announced today that the UK-based Wellcome Trust, the largest charitable foundation in the UK and a global leader in the funding of innovative biomedical research, will become a key GHIT Fund partner with a grant of ¥554,234,700 through January 2017.


Beyond funding, the Wellcome Trust’s long history of expertise in the global health arena, including championing R&D for infectious diseases, will significantly bolster GHIT. In a similar structure as to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which currently funds GHIT, the Wellcome Trust will join the GHIT Selection Committee with an additional member and also the GHIT Board of Directors with an ex-officio observer.


“The Ebola crisis served as a stark reminder of the devastating potential of infectious diseases. But when that epidemic finally subsides there remains countless other infections threatening the health of the world’s poorest populations. By partnering with GHIT, the Wellcome Trust hopes to bring the very best of Japanese science to bear in tackling this critical unmet need,” Dr. Richard Seabrook, Head of Business Development at the Wellcome Trust.


In a First for GHIT Fund, Diagnostics Company to be a Funding Partner


GHIT Fund also announced that the Kobe, Japan-based Sysmex Corporation, a global leader of in vitro diagnostic laboratory systems, will become a key GHIT Fund partner, alongside six existing Japanese pharmaceutical companies, with a donation over the next three years.


Among the resources provided by Sysmex is in vitro diagnostics expertise. As the first diagnostic company to join GHIT, the Sysmex partnership marks the welcome participation of a wider range of corporations in global health R&D.


“To support the mission of the GHIT Fund—accelerating the development of drugs and vaccines to fight diseases that sicken and kill the poorest people in the world—Sysmex decided to take part as a new sponsor. We proactively work on development of testing technologies and product development to contribute to the diagnosis of infectious diseases in developing countries. Through the support for the GHIT Fund, we look forward to helping strengthen the R&D effort against infectious diseases prevalent in developing countries,” said Sysmex Chairman and CEO Mr. Hisashi Ietsugu. 


GHIT also welcomed partnerships with these leading organizations:


  • ANA, the Tokyo-based airline, will provide flights free of charge for any experts or medical professionals participating in GHIT Fund grant-related work. This support from ANA will allow GHIT to more effectively evaluate its R&D programs. Osamu Shinobe, President and CEO of ANA, said: “The global challenge posed by infectious diseases is enormous, so we believe it is ANA’s responsibility to support this initiative. Japanese pharmaceutical know-how and expertise is already assisting the work of the GHIT, and we are delighted to put our growing international route network at the disposal of its experts so they can carry out their work more effectively. We look forward to being an official supporter of GHIT.”


  • Morrison & Foerster LLP, a global law firm headquartered in the United States, with over 1,000 lawyers with 17 offices around the world, including in Tokyo, will provide regular legal advice and services to GHIT on a pro bono basis.


  • Yahoo! Japan, the most well-known and largest portal website in Japan, reaching 88 percent[1] of Japan’s internet users, will become a media partner to the GHIT Fund. This will be its first content partnership in global health. Through its robust platform, Yahoo! Japan will help build awareness about the importance of global health R&D and the role of the GHIT Fund in Japan through special Japanese web content aimed at the general public, including information about current global health challenges, Japan's past and present initiatives and leadership, and interviews with Japanese scientists who are playing a major role in global health R&D. 


The GHIT sponsorships with ANA, Morrison & Foerster, and Yahoo! Japan will effectively allow GHIT to increase its cost-structure efficiency for managing investments. “GHIT is cementing partnerships with global and domestic organizations at a dramatic pace. The participation of top-notch companies in Japan and other countries validates the GHIT Fund as Japan's flagship initiative, one that is truly innovative and novel,” said GHIT’s Slingsby.


About GHIT Fund

The first fund to finance global health technologies in the world, the GHIT Fund is a public-private partnership based in Tokyo, Japan, funded by six leading Japanese pharmaceutical companies (Astellas Pharma, Inc.; Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd; Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited; Eisai Co., Ltd.; Shionogi & Co., Ltd.; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited), the Japanese Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in April 2013 with an initial commitment of more than US$100 million, the organization taps Japanese research and development to fight neglected diseases. The GHIT Fund invests and manages a portfolio of development partnerships aimed at neglected diseases that afflict the world’s poorest people. GHIT mobilizes Japanese pharmaceutical companies and academic and research organizations to engage in the effort to get new medicines and vaccines to people who need them most, with Japan quickly becoming a game-changer in global health. For more information, please visit


About the Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We provide more than £700 million a year to support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine. Our £18 billion investment portfolio gives us the independence to support such transformative work as the sequencing and understanding of the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, our free venue for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art.


About Sysmex Corporation

Sysmex Corporation is a world leader in clinical laboratory systemization and solutions, including laboratory diagnostics, laboratory automation and clinical information systems. Serving customers for more than 40 years, Sysmex focuses on technological leadership in diagnostic science and information tools that make a difference in the health of people worldwide. The company is also exploring emerging opportunities in the life science field. Its R&D efforts focus on the development of high value-added testing and diagnostic technologies that are innovative, original and optimize individual health. Sysmex also seeks to leverage its state-of-the-art technologies for gene and protein analysis. The company, headquartered in Kobe, Japan, has subsidiaries in North America, Latin America, Europe, China and Asia Pacific and employs more than 7,000 employees worldwide. Sysmex Corporation is listed in the top tier of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For more information about Sysmex Corporation and its affiliate companies, please visit


About ANA
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the 13th largest airline in the world by revenues (2013) and the largest airline in Japan by revenues and passenger numbers. Founded in 1952, ANA flies today on 72 international routes and 113 domestic routes with a fleet of about 240 aircraft. ANA Group has 33,000 employees. In 2014, it carried 47 million passengers and generated revenues of 1.7 trillion Japanese yen. ANA has been a member of Star Alliance since 1999 and has joint-ventures with United Airlines on trans-Pacific and Asia routes and with Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines on Japan-Europe routes. Its Frequent Flyer Program, ANA Mileage Club, has more than 26 million members. ANA was voted Airline of the Year for 2013 by Air Transport World Magazine, and in 2015 was awarded five stars for the third consecutive year by the world's leading Airline and Airport review site, SKYTRAX. ANA is the launch customer and biggest operator of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. For more information, visit


About Morrison & Foerster

We are Morrison & Foerster—a global firm of exceptional credentials. Our clients include some of the largest financial institutions, investment banks, Fortune 100, technology and life science companies. We’ve been included on The American Lawyer’s A-List for 11 straight years, and Fortune named us one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Our lawyers are committed to achieving innovative and business-minded results for our clients, while preserving the differences that make us stronger. Visit us at


About Yahoo! JAPAN

Yahoo! JAPAN, operated by Yahoo Japan Corporation, provides over 100 services such as search, news, e-commerce, etc., and is the largest comprehensive information website in Japan. For more information, visit



[1]Independent survey conducted by Yahoo Japan Corporation (Conducted in September 2014)

Survey respondents: 4,146 men and women from all over Japan using the Internet by either PC, smartphone or tablet; aged 16 years and older