Gates Foundation Invests Up to $140 Million in Intarcia for HIV

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest as much as $140 million in closely held Intarcia Therapeutics Inc. to develop a device that could help prevent HIV infections.

The Gates Foundation will provide $50 million upfront for Intarcia to develop an anti-HIV therapy that uses its implanted device. The foundation may give up to $90 million more in grants depending on how the HIV program goes, the company said Thursday in a statement.

The Seattle-based foundation is unusual in that it has a pool of about $1.5 billion set aside for “program-related investments,” which include equity stakes, loans and other incentives for companies. The investments allow the nonprofit to take risks where venture capitalists would normally shy away. The charity has committed about $1 billion to more than 40 investments, the program’s director said earlier this year.

Intarcia makes matchstick-size devices that are implanted under the skin and continuously release drugs. Currently, the company is seeking regulatory approval for a device that delivers a diabetes drug, though it aims to make a therapy to prevent HIV that can be implanted once or twice a year.

— With assistance by Caroline Chen

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