International Finance Corporation, member of the World Bank Group, is investing USD 16.5 million (around Rs 123 crore) in genetic diagnostics and research company MedGenome to increase access to COVID-19 testing in India.
The partnership, apart from increasing the access to COVID-19 testing, will also support research to better help understand the virus, its variants and manage future outbreaks, IFC and MedGenome said in a statement on Thursday.
IFC's USD 16.5 million equity investment will support the expansion of MedGenome's diagnostic services as well as boost genomic data from South Asian populations, which can help provide valuable insights into complex diseases and help develop effective medical solutions for diverse populations, it added. "With IFC's support, we will continue to expand our services across India, bringing tests directly to the communities most affected by the pandemic, and finding genetic variants that might be making some people more susceptible to severe COVID-19 infection and post-COVID illness, MedGenome Founder and Chairman Sam Santhosh said.
Fast, reliable and extensive testing is one of the most important steps to end the pandemic, he added. "This investment will help increase access to reliable testing and monitoring of the virus, as well as identify life-saving treatments. Our overall aim is to help India strengthen its healthcare systems, build resilience, and ramp up recovery from the pandemic," IFC Managing Director Makhtar Diop said.
IFC's partnership with MedGenome comes at a critical time when India is facing an unprecedented crisis because of COVID-19, he added. The investment in MedGenome is part of IFC's USD 4 billion Global Health Platform, which is providing financing to support the manufacturing and supply of vaccines, medical equipment, and therapeutics, as well as the logistics required to deliver vaccines and medications, it added.
IFC is a leading global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. It advances economic development and improves the lives of people by encouraging the growth of the private sector in developing countries.