Futurism News Startups

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation inject $140Mn in Intarcia to work towards prevention of HIV

HIV has moved on from the stage of big elephant in the room whose presence needs to be addressed to the level, where, people are curious and desperate to discover its cure. This is where the dire necessity arises to approach this life-threatening condition differently. How perplexing it would be if it simply can be prevented.

A technique called pre-exposure prophylaxis which lets you have preemptive medicine on a regular basis greatly lessens the chances that HIV will be caused in the first place.

To support such disruptive technology, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has infused capital into Intarcia to help prevent the spread of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa and other countries where the HIV epidemic is most severe.

Intarcia is a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies to enhance treatment outcomes optimizing and improving the efficacy, continuous administration and tolerability of drug therapies. Its drug development expertise and competitive edge are brought to life within the Medici Drug Delivery System, the innovative science, and technology platform from which it plans to launch its pipeline of disruptively innovative drugs.

As a part of the commitment, the Gates Foundation will invest up to $140M with $50M as a program-related investment into the Series EE round, and up to $90M in non-dilutive milestone-based grants tied to the HIV prophylactic program. Assuming success over time, additional grants will be made to ensure access to an important prophylactic for HIV. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says,

There’s a vital need for an HIV/AIDS intervention that allows those at risk to incorporate prevention more easily into their daily lives. We feel optimistic about our partnership with Intarcia and the prospect of an implantable prophylactic device that could make a world of difference for people most in need.

Intarcia, along with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will work to develop and advance an anti-HIV prophylactic, as well as planned enhancements to the Medici technology platform itself. The relationship with the Gates Foundation will fully leverage its innovative Medici Drug Delivery System by developing the first once- or twice-yearly anti-HIV prophylactic therapy. It will be creating an under-the-skin pump implant which will deliver a steady stream of anti-HIV drugs in six or twelve-month batches. In lieu of daily consumption of medicines, one would need to top up once or twice a year.

If it’s deployed as expected, it could significantly reduce the influence of HIV and AIDS in places like sub-Saharan Africa, where the virus remains a serious problem.

Intarcia has also announced the second close of Series EE equity financing worth $206 million, while third and final close is planned in 1Q 2017.