WALTHAM, Mass., March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Alere Inc. (NYSE: ALR) announced today that it has been awarded a grant of up to $21.6 million and debt financing of up to $20.6 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The $21.6 million grant will fund the development of a tuberculosis assay, which will be designed for use in both resource-constrained and well-resourced settings. It will also support the company's efforts to incorporate one of its isothermal amplification technologies for TB detection onto the Alere™ Q, a compact, portable, and robust device intended for molecular testing at the point of care. In addition, the Gates Foundation will provide below-market loans of up to $20.6 million for the expansion and scale up of Alere's manufacturing facilities in Jena, Germany for both the POC TB Nucleic Acid Test and the POC HIV Viral Load Test currently in the final stages of development. The Gates Foundation will provide these loans in exchange for commitments from Alere to make these diagnostics available at an affordable price to people in need in developing countries.
Tuberculosis is a leading cause of death worldwide, and nearly 8.8 million cases of TB occur each year, mostly in middle-income and low-income countries. Today, laboratory-based technologies provide the primary means for diagnosing the illness, but these technologies often fail to identify large numbers of active cases, take weeks to deliver results, lack crucial drug resistance information, or are unable to meet the needs of individuals with limited access to lab facilities. Alere's collaboration with the Gates Foundation will produce a highly sensitive, low-cost diagnostic that can be implemented in lower-level laboratories or outside the lab altogether.
A world leader in near-patient diagnostics, Alere is committed to developing solutions that support screening for the world's most burdensome diseases, such as TB and HIV, and support the ongoing monitoring of people living with HIV or HIV-related conditions like TB.