What do African pharmaceutical logistics startup, Silicon Valley investors and Chinese biotech have in common? They're all working to beef up COVID-19 testing in Africa.
Ghanaian healthcare startup mPharma was founded six years ago by Gregory Rockson. It provides inventory financing to clients and helps lower the cost of prescription drugs for patients.
Now the company is working to ensure coronavirus test kits are more affordable and available to patients in Africa by collaborating with China's biotech company Sansure and U.S. investment firm Breyer Capital.
"By collaborating with Breyer Capital and Sansure, we are able to quickly tap into China's experiences that can be applied to many African countries," said Rockson.
He added that the company has already supported half a dozen countries in Africa to improve their testing capacity.
So far mPharma bought 400,000 testing kits and reagents from Sansure Biotech, it has also received training on usage.
"We made a lot of videos to show people how to use it, therefore it would be easy for them to follow. We also have staff available around the clock to provide real-time assistance," said Dai Lizhong, the Chairman of Sansure Biotech.
For investors in Silicon Valley, such collaborations will benefit beyond Africa and lead to healthcare outcomes around the world.
"Breyer capital finds China-U.S. relationship so profound when it comes to other parts of the world like Africa, where the Chinese tech and U.S. AI tech can be applied to make huge differences to COVID-19 and future opportunities around testing," said Jim Breyer, the CEO of Breyer Capital, one of the earliest investors in Facebook.
The partnership will extend beyond COVID-19. By the end of this pandemic, mPharma plans to have a network of medical laboratories to perform diagnostics on different diseases in multiple African countries.
Rockson believes that the company will be able to leverage the lessons it learned from China and provide additional molecular tests in the future.