Worthwhile investments

Bill and Melinda Gates have invested $140 million in new PrEp pump device

For those currently on PrEP, the days of having to take a pill every day could be numbered.

Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company Intarcia Therapeutics is moving forward with plans to market a subcutaneous device that would deliver a daily dose of the anti-retroviral medicine.

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They’ve just secured $206 million in funding to better research the mini-osmotic pump; a tiny implant that is inserted beneath the skin in order to treat chronic illnesses like HIV and Type II diabetes.

According to an announcement, $140 million of that money is being funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was set up by the entrepreneur and his wife to help eliminate preventable diseases in some of the most impoverished parts of the world.

This could be an important development, especially for people who want to take PrEP but aren’t sure they’re up to the task of remembering to take it daily.

Related: Bill and Melinda Gates Donate $500,000 For Marriage Equality in Washington

Intarcia wants to introduce the device to patients with Type II Diabetes this year. The backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will help them further develop the system so it can administer PrEP.

Here’s a statement from Kurt Graves, Chairman, President and CEO of Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc.:

Over the last five years we have successfully brought to life the vision and promise of our disruptive Medici technology platform, and an expanding pipeline of novel therapeutics.

With Medici, and each of our new once- or twice-yearly therapies, we’re aiming to solve some of the biggest unmet needs in the treatment and prevention of major chronic diseases that impact millions and millions of lives every day.

With our new strategic initiative in HIV prevention, we are also tremendously excited and humbled to work with an incredible organization as smart, forward-looking and purpose-based as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, remarked:

There’s a vital need for an HIV/AIDS intervention that allows those at risk to incorporate prevention more easily into their daily lives.

We feel optimistic about our partnership with Intarcia and the prospect of an implantable prophylactic device that could make a world of difference for people most in need.

While it’s uncertain exactly when the PrEP pump might be coming to market, The Wall Street Journal suggests it would first be available in America.