07 November 2016 - Geneva, Switzerland - The Stop TB Partnership and its partners are pleased to announce the launch of a social impact fund called Venture Lab (vLAB), which will pool and blend private and public capital to address systemic barriers in the TB space. The organization also announced that one of its Private Sector Constituency members has made an initial donation to the fund.
The latest World Health Organization’s Global TB Report 2016 published points to the undeniable fact that TB has now become the new global health emergency, with an estimated 10.4 million new cases and 1.8 million dying as a result annually. In short, someone dies of TB every 18 seconds.
TB, which primarily affects the world’s poorest people, is often the forgotten disease. For example, about USD 8.6 billion a year is needed to fund care and prevention, especially in poorer countries, but funding has chronically been USD 2 billion short of the required amount. About USD 2 billion a year is needed to fund research and development of new diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines, but funding has never exceeded USD 0.7 billion a year since 2005.
vLAB will finance the development and implementation of targeted initiatives designed to support the achievement of the goals set forth in the Global Plan to End TB, 2016-2020 and the End TB Strategy. As such, it is currently exploring and piloting, as its inaugural project, an Accelerator for Impact (a4i), which aims to:
"The introduction of promising, new tools is essential to end TB by 2030, and innovative financing and strategic partnerships are imperative to accelerate the pace at which these tools can be introduced and scaled-up," said Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership. "We believe a social impact fund dedicated to TB and a4i will establish a framework that can be replicated for new tools, which will result in a dramatic impact to ending a disease that needlessly claims so many lives. I call on the private and public sector to join our effort to change the way we finance and address the gaps and needs in the TB space."
"TB, a disease that kills more people every year than HIV/AIDS, is one of the world’s biggest health challenges. Ending this lethal disease is within our grasp but calls for resourcefulness, determination and a sustained effort of innovative activity," said Lelio Marmora, Executive Director of UNITAID. "The launch of vLAB and a4i will mobilize the best of private and public enterprise to deliver state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatments that are essential to getting the job done."
The Stop TB Partnership has identified diagnostic needs as the first area of investment and has begun working with a4i’s strategic and technical partner, FIND, on a project to accelerate market entry of a new sputum transport solution for low-and middle-income countries.
"Today the pathway to get new TB diagnostics from scientific discovery to patients is rocky at best," said Catharina Boehme, CEO of FIND. "We need innovation in funding mechanisms such as vLAB and a4i to drive innovation in diagnostic technology and rapid delivery. We can wait no longer to meet the critical diagnostic needs of the four million missing TB patients who go undiagnosed or unreported every year."
For additional information regarding the vLAB and a4i, please contact Jackie Huh, Head, Strategic Initiatives & Innovative Financing Team, at firstname.lastname@example.org.