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Straight talk with...BT Slingsby

Nature Medicine volume 19, page 1553 (2013) | Download Citation


Japan boasts the second-largest pharmaceutical industry in the world. With its rich background in medical research, the country has turned its attention to diseases of the developing world with this year's launch of the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund—a new public-private partnership between five Japanese pharmaceutical companies, two government ministries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In November, the Tokyo-based fund announced its first round of awards totaling $5.7 million. The six grants will go to partnerships aimed at developing new drugs and vaccines to fight malaria, tuberculosis and Chagas disease, a neglected disease endemic to Latin America.

Leading the new $120 million, five-year initiative is BT Slingsby, a US-born scholar of the Japanese healthcare industry who most recently served as director of global partner solutions at Eisai, a Tokyo-based drugmaker. On a recent trip to New York, Slingsby, who serves as GHIT's executive director and CEO, met with Cassandra Willyard to discuss the new fund and how Japan can help drive development of medicines and vaccines for diseases of the developing world.

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