The Opportunity

The premise of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) is for medical product companies to donate proprietary intellectual property (IP) that improves treatment of diseases like malaria, TB and AIDS, but that is not considered financially viable for the asset owners to develop internally.  It is the responsibility of the academic partners within GHI to provide scientific talent and managerial expertise, mainly in the form of doctoral students and MBA candidates, to develop that IP and take the products to market.  The research and development is funded within the non-profit community, eager to bring business discipline and innovation to global health problems. 

Through GHI, almost 500 Kellogg students have actively participated in research and development efforts. Projects have included market research, public policy issues, market entry strategy, and product design and device specifications.  One area of research that has been particularly important is field work and primary source interviews in countries that could benefit from such a device.  When asked about our approach and the need for this type of research, Professor Diermeier said, “There are unique problems for designing products for these [developing country] markets because there is no existing market structure or understanding of the market.”  Many populations of patients in the world’s poorest countries have been overlooked because they cannot pay for the care they need.  As a result there is almost no data regarding their specific requirements or limitations related to their infrastructure.  Professor Diermeier stressed the fact that any successful product launch will require a rigorous analysis of the existing channels for distribution, cooperation with local governments, building support for the device among key opinion leaders, like NGO’s and the World Health Organization – essentially building a market network the same way a for-profit company would.