What We Do

Innovative Technology Solutions

Strategy Overview

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A health worker tests a child for Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) in Bangumi village, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Our Goal:

to identify emerging technologies that have potentially transformative applications for global health.

The Challenge

At A Glance

We look far and wide for emerging technologies from both within and outside biomedicine that could be adapted to address major global health challenges.

We make targeted, short-term investments to determine the viability of applying these innovations to specific areas of global health.

We rapidly assemble teams of highly capable research partners to investigate application of these technologies as a proof of concept.

We connect other foundation programs with the most promising innovations and provide guidance on how to apply them in areas such as diagnostics, vaccines, and drug discovery.

Our Innovative Technology Solutions strategy is led by Dan Wattendorf and is part of the foundation’s Global Health Division.

New technologies are emerging every day from industry, academia, and government labs—including advances in areas such as artificial intelligence, sensor networks, mobile communications, and bioengineering. Some of these technologies could have potentially transformative applications to improve human health, particularly in the developing world, but few institutions have the time or resources to investigate such long-shot opportunities.


The Opportunity

Our foundation is uniquely situated to explore the universe of potentially valuable technologies and make targeted, short-term investments to investigate the viability of applying them to major global health challenges. Drawing on our vast partner network, including private industry and academia, we can quickly assemble highly capable research teams and initiate projects to determine within a two- to five-year period whether a particular technology is worthy of further investigation, investment, and adaptation. This is a much shorter timeline than would be typical for testing a health or medical technology.

Our Strategy

We constantly refresh our portfolio of investments as we add new options for investigation and retire projects that do not prove to be viable. When a technology proves to be worthy of further investigation, we work to attract further investment from foundation programs, global health funders, governments, and other partners.

Examples of our projects include:

  • Developing a low-cost supplement to colostrum—the antibody-rich fluid that is the first stage of breast milk—using novel manufacturing platforms
  • Using computational science to develop small molecules that have antibody-like potency against infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis
  • Using DNA encoding to introduce protection against viruses such as Zika and HIV
  • Engineering B-cells—the immune cells produced in the bone marrow—to serve as universal donor cells
  • Using automation and modular components to develop a health care infrastructure that employs sensor technology and low-cost molecular testing
  • Using antibody engineering to develop ultra-sensitive, low-cost rapid diagnostic tests for infectious diseases
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