From Conceptualization to Realization of GHIT's First Investment

September 2011

GHIT's Conceptualization

While discussing global health at lunch in Tokyo, Tachi Yamada (former President of Global Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and, at that time, Chief Scientific & Medical Officer at Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.) and BT Slingsby (at that time, Director of Global Access Strategies at Eisai Co., Ltd.) sketched the concept of GHIT on the back of a paper napkin: a matching fund designed to catalyze global health R&D from Japan, comprised of industry, the Gates Foundation, and the Government of Japan.

October 2011 - June 2012

The Pitch

Working with Honorable Keizo Takemi, Professor Kenji Shibuya (University of Tokyo), Haruo Naito (Eisai Co., Ltd.), and Yasuchika Hasegawa (Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.), BT Slingsby pitched the idea to the Government of Japan and other Japanese pharmaceutical companies. Concurrently, Tachi Yamada and BT Slingsby approached the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

July 2012

Partnership Creation

With initial buy-in from eight funders, the GHIT Launch Committee was launched to explore and develop the institution's articles of incorporation, rules, governance structure, membership, and name -- the committee met bi-weekly leading up to the fund's launch. Members of the GHIT Launch Committee and their affiliations at that time included:

BT Slingsby (Chair of the Launch Committee; Eisai Co., Ltd.), Shiro Konuma (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan), Kazushi Yamauchi (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan), Hiroyuki Hori (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan), Rachel Lenington (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Hiroyuki Miyoshi (Astellas Pharma Inc.), Minori Saito (Astellas Pharma Inc.), Toyomasa Kaneda (Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited), Naoto Murakami (Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited), Eiji Nanasawa (Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited), Mitsuru Mizuno (Eisai Co., Ltd.), Naoki Yoshikawa (Shionogi & Co., Ltd.), Keisuke Watanabe (Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited)

November 2012


The GHIT Fund was registered as a general incorporated association in Japan.

April 2013

Official Launch

GHIT's Phase 1.0 (FY2013-FY2017) formally launched. Governors and their affiliations at the time of GHIT's launch included:

Council: Takehiro Kagawa (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan), Masato Mugitani (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan), Trevor Mundel (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Astellas Pharma Inc. (Yoshihiko Hatanaka), Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited (George Nakayama), Eisai Co., Ltd. (Haruo Naito), Shionogi & Co., Ltd. (Isao Teshirogi), Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Yasuchika Hasegawa)

Board of Directors: Kiyoshi Kurokawa (Founding Board Chair, GHIT Fund), Peter Piot (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), BT Slingsby (Founder & CEO, GHIT Fund), Shiro Konuma (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan), Kazushi Yamauchi (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan), Ann Veneman, Ko-Yung Tung (Morrison and Foerster), Hikaru Ishiguro (Health and Global Policy Institute), Kim Bush (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Selection Committee: Mahima Datla (Biological E. Limited), Ken Duncan (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Kiyoshi Kita (The University of Tokyo), Alex Matter (A*STAR), Dennis Schmatz

Advisory Panel: Harvey V. Fineberg (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies), Dai Hozumi (PATH), Calestous Juma (Harvard Kennedy School), Michael R. Reich (Harvard School of Public Health), Kumi Sato (Cosmo Public Relations Corporation), Peter Singer (Grand Challenges Canada), Peter Agre (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine)

Founding GHIT Staff: Saho Kitawaki, Toshie Ando, Kei Katsuno

June 2013

First Investments

First 13 investments decided and announced.
GHIT Fund launch press conference took place.


From Conceptualization to Realization of GHIT's First Investment

The passion, commitment, and sense of urgency shared by its founding partners pioneered a new history for Japan's global health R&D.