A Global Health R&D Challenge: Starting from Scratch

The GHIT Fund began in a small shared office the size of just a couple tatami mats, with just two staff members. Countless conversations, calls, meetings, and late nights later, the GHIT vision began to be realized – the establishment of a public-private Japanese initiative to promote global health R&D.

After just a few months, the tiny team began to grow, welcoming colleagues drawn to the new form of social contribution and partnership GHIT created, and its enormous potential impact on global health. In April 2013, GHIT officially launched as the world's first global health product development (R&D) fund.

Becoming a Team on the Global Stage

We announced our first investments in Japanese innovation in June 2013 at the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD). We also participated in international conferences and events in Japan and abroad to raise awareness and engage with the global health community. In May 2014, GHIT was officially certified as a public-interest corporation group, solidifying its status as the first international organization headquartered in Japan.

Progress was steady from the outset. The number of GHIT’s funding partners doubled in its first four years, reaching 16 as of September 2017. The mission to create an organization – and health technologies – that were entirely unprecedented motivated the GHIT team’s creativity and unity. The cache and dedication of the founding funding partners bolstered our commitment and confidence.

An Unprecedented Organization

The GHIT Fund represents an entirely new kind of organization in global health R&D – from the way it is funded, to the way it invests in product development, to its governance approach. The organization and its staff have embraced change and evolution at every turn, enabling GHIT to grow rapidly in size and impact. The contribution of each member of GHIT’s small, powerful team plays an integral role in that growth.