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Global Health Investment Fund clears a profit on voucher sale to Novo Nordisk

An innovative financing mechanism for drugs for neglected diseases is providing a return for impact investors.

Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical giant, disclosed that it is the buyer of a “priority review voucher” from Medicines Development for Global Health, an Australian nonprofit that won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for moxidectin as a treatment for onchocerciasis, or river blindness.

With the approval came the voucher for an expedited FDA review of another drug. MDGH had estimated it could sell the voucher sold for $40 million, according to a report from Tideline, more than covering the $13 million required for the drug’s final development.

The Global Health Investment Fund, launched by the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase, committed $10 million in 2015.

After a dozen deals, Global Health Investment Fund has overcome a rocky start

MDGH said “a significant portion” of the proceeds would go to fight river blindness, with the balance returned to investors in the global health fund, now known as Adjuvant Capital. Adjuvant is raising a second fund. 

MDGH’s Mark Sullivan said moxidectin “would have been left on the shelf” without the priority review voucher funding mechanism. 

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