Monday, April 4, 2011

Countdown to World Malaria Day: Who is using market forces to scale their work?

With World Malaria Day only a few weeks away, it merits asking who in the malaria community is committed to utilizing market forces to scale and sustain their work?

At the beginning of 2011 The Scientist magazine wrote about entrepreneurs who are “breaching the barrier between profit and nonprofit” and using as a prime example the story of Victoria Hale who I wrote about in The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men. Hale imagined and created The Institute for One World Health, and more recently Medicines360, because “Big Pharma makes drugs for Westerners. She, on the other hand, wanted to make drugs for all of humanity—drugs that don’t necessarily pull a profit.” See

The article explores new ventures ranging from the Acumen Fund’s investments in Tanzania to the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute in Seattle. But the common theme is nonprofits leveraging their assets, and using market forces to get their proven ideas to scale.

It’s a concept very much at the heart of our work at Community Wealth Ventures. And I’ve also had the opportunity to witness firsthand how it is aligned with the strategy of the for-profit biotech company Sanaria which is developing a vaccine to eradicate malaria. Let’s hope other entrepreneurs embrace it as well.

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