Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Gates Foundation is best known for its philanthropy, but it has also spawned a venture capital fund whose mission is to show that investing in global health care issues can also yield returns.

Driving the news: Adjuvant Capital, founded by veterans of the Gates Foundation-sponsored Global Health Investment Fund, is raising a fund that will be at least $200 million, according to SEC filings.

  • Adjuvant founder and managing partner Glenn Rockman tells Axios that GHIF was created in 2012 (raising $108 million) to test whether it was possible to generate returns from these areas historically financed by philanthropy and governments.
  • The expectations were low: "Our investment memo at the time said 'get your money back in real terms,' meaning, to beat inflation," Rockman says.
  • Some of GHIF's team later left to set up Adjuvant, keeping much of the same approach.

The intrigue: While many life sciences and biotech investors go after cancer therapies and the like, Adjuvant is betting it can get investment returns from fighting diseases like malaria and tuberculosis.

  • “To some extent we are taking a contrarian bet that this is a bigger market than people realize,” Adjuvant principal Charlie Petty tells Axios.
  • Adjuvant invests alongside the usual top life-science VCs, but its portfolio will look different — it'll have more vaccines, for example, than most others.

Why it matters: As the current coronavirus pandemic has shown, global health crises can effectively halt entire economies without treatments and prevention.

  • Already, some of Adjuvant’s existing portfolio companies are working on potential treatments for COVID-19.

Go deeper: The legacy of Kleiner Perkins' 2006 pandemic fund

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 15, 2020 - Health

Exclusive: Melinda Gates slams Trump's COVID-19 response

Melinda Gates told "Axios on HBO" that the Trump administration has neutered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and continued to bungle its coronavirus response, concluding that only a "lack of leadership" explains why far more people have died in the U.S. than in other developed countries.

Why it matters: The comments mark the sharpest rebuke yet from the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has emerged as the largest funder of the World Health Organization after the U.S. yanked funding earlier this year.

Obama: The rest of us have to live with the consequences of what Trump's done

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Campaigning for Joe Biden at a car rally in Miami on Saturday, Barack Obama railed against President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying "the rest of us have to live with the consequences of what he's done."

Driving the news: With less than two weeks before the election, the Biden campaign is drawing on the former president's popularity with Democrats to drive turnout and motivate voters.

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