Our Global Health Innovation Hub adapts our partnership model to directly support innovators in India and South Africa. Photo: PATH/Cori Barfield.
PATH’s engine for accelerating access to promising health technologies through local innovators
PATH is known for our entrepreneurial approach to global health innovation. Using a product development partnership model, we bring together the best minds from across public and private sectors to solve the world’s leading health problems.
While partners in the developed world are critical to this effort, the geographic footprint of research and development has widened to encompass new technologies and innovators from emerging places like India and South Africa. Innovators in these countries are closer to the problems, can typically produce health products at lower cost, and may have a higher likelihood of creating sustainable businesses.
More of these promising innovations could reach scale in local and global markets if they had greater investment, improved business models, better testing of products and markets, and broader support networks.
PATH’s Global Health Innovation Hub adapts our partnership model to directly support local innovators, helping them overcome hurdles and supporting them where they most need help—whether in product design, clinical validation, commercialization, or market development. Through the Innovation Hub, we are accelerating the rate at which health-related devices, diagnostics, and household products are developed, introduced, and scaled to meet the needs of people in resource-limited communities.
Collaborating for impact and sustainability
The Innovation Hub currently operates in India and South Africa—countries with significant global health needs, a robust set of committed university and private-sector partners, and a growing number of entrepreneurs with an interest in reaching vulnerable populations.
Strategic partnerships are central to the success of this model. In South Africa, PATH is partnering with the South African Medical Research Council to enhance our collaborations with local South African researchers and entrepreneurs.
In India, we have partnered with Unitus Seed Fund, a seed-level impact investor, and Villgro, a well-established technology incubator. Partnerships in both countries continue to grow as we select and support a range of researchers and social enterprise start-ups developing technologies that we believe can make a significant impact on global health.
A next-generation model for health innovation
The Innovation Hub incorporates innovative elements into our partnership model.
- Start-ups: A significant portion of global health innovation in developing countries is being driven by social enterprise start-ups, which have the dual objectives of delivering both social good and profits. The Innovation Hub offers them technical assistance, funding, and connections to public health networks.
- Impact (equity) investors: PATH is experimenting with new models of financial support for social enterprise start-ups, including a program that provides traditional donor funding followed by investment dollars if milestones are met. This track to success approach improves the quality of technologies and business models before investments are made, while amplifying the value and impact of early grant funding with investments that enable progress toward scale.
- Local to global: In addition to supporting local entrepreneurs to reach low-resource populations in their own countries, PATH plans to leverage its global health network to help local innovators maximize their success in global markets.
Technologies for pregnancy, heart care, and more
The Innovation Hub is already helping to advance a robust pipeline of technologies. Examples include:
- A heat-stable, fast-dissolving tablet form of oxytocin that can be put under a woman’s tongue to prevent or treat postpartum hemorrhage, a leading cause of maternal death.
- A low-cost and highly accurate dipstick that measures protein in a pregnant woman’s urine to test for preeclampsia, a condition associated with dangerously high blood pressure and an increased risk of death.
- A mobile application that health care workers can use to transmit electrocardiogram results to cardiologists for fast and reliable diagnoses, enabling patients to receive lifesaving stabilization services before they are transported to higher-level care.
Maximizing impact together
The Global Health Innovation Hub is another example of how PATH addresses health inequities through new and innovative business models. It offers a unique, value-added service to local innovators, helping them reach scale and improve lives in their own communities and beyond.
It also provides an unparalleled opportunity for donors to support the next generation of global health innovators—and the potential to deliver exponential gains for vulnerable women, children, and communities worldwide.