Australia

Bill Gates fund invests in Australian start-up Atomo

Microsoft founder Bill Gates Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Microsoft founder Bill Gates helps fund promising healthcare ventures

An investment fund backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates has taken a multimillion dollar stake in an Australian biotech start-up.

Atomo Diagnostics has invented quick, cheap and accurate tests for HIV, malaria and Ebola.

Global Health Investment Fund purchased an 8.4% stake in the medical company for about A$3.3m (£1.9m, $2.5m).

The fund, a joint venture between the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan, finances initiatives that benefit global health.

The US fund focuses on infectious diseases that include malaria, pre-eclampsia, cholera and river blindness.

Atomo's valuation after the latest round of investment is around A$30m.

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Media captionHow does Bill Gates choose which causes to back?

Other major investors in the company include Macquarie Group chief executive Allan Moss and billionaire property developer Lang Walker.

A spokesman for the medical device company said that it was one of the few groups the Gates-backed fund had invested in directly.

"Their focus is on the developing world - that's why Atomo caught their attention," a company spokesman said.

"The company has decided to focus on some of the biggest global diseases like HIV and malaria."

It will continue to focus on user-friendly and accurate medical testing devices to treat global diseases.

"The focus for the next 12 months is to launch a rapid home blood test for HIV in South Africa," the spokesman said.

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