Michelmores has advised the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF), the impact investment arm of the Open Society Foundations, as the lead investor in establishing Global Access Health (GAH), along with a group of philanthropic funds and with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. GAH is a social enterprise that will seek to expand access to affordable state-of-the-art medical technology through decentralised research, development, and manufacturing in and for the Global South.
Michelmores advised SEDF and GAH on the acquisition of Mologic Ltd – a leading developer of lateral flow and rapid diagnostic technologies that can help combat high risk tropical diseases such as dengue and bilharzia, and including a lateral flow test for Covid-19 – and Global Access Diagnostics, which is focused on low-cost manufacturing of diagnostic tests and licenses Mologic’s technology in Africa and South Asia.
It is envisaged that the investor group will invest at least $41 million (£30 million) in this unique transaction as a result of which Mologic will be transitioned from a for-profit company into a social enterprise, allowing it to continue to operate as a business, but to reinvest its profits to further the goals of GAH by providing low-price, high-quality life-saving diagnostic tools to low- and middle-income countries.
SEDF was established by billionaire philanthropist George Soros in 1997 to make impact investments aimed at creating economic opportunities for those who face systemic discrimination or exclusion.
The Michelmores team was led by Partner Joe Whitfield, supported by Luke Pollard.
Joe Whitfield, who heads Michelmores’ Impact Investing team, commented:
“We are delighted to have played a role in the design and implementation of this innovative transaction which is intended to redress the imbalance in the global public health system highlighted by the COVID 19 pandemic. It has been a pleasure to work with SEDF and the other philanthropic funds and investors involved, as well as the Mologic management team, in bringing this unique transaction to fruition with a view to expanding access to affordable, quality public health products and technologies in the Global South.”
Sean Hinton, CEO of SEDF said:
“This is an innovative and highly complex deal that integrates an ambitious social impact goal with commercial financing. We are pleased, once again, to be working with Joe and his team at Michelmores, to whom we turn when we have this kind of complex transaction.”
SEDF and GAH were advised by Michelmores.
The sellers of Mologic were advised by Withers, Shoosmiths, and Peregrine Law.