Tim Ring, who led C.R. Bard to a $24 billion acquisition by Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) nearly two years ago, is the co-founder of a new $30 million fund aimed at medical device companies developing products for low-resource geographies.
TEAMFund – the “TEAM” stands for “Transforming Equity and Access for Medtech” – is the brainchild of Ring and ex-Morgan Lewis senior partner Kathryn Gleason. Billed as a hybrid “combining a non-profit with a for-profit fund,” it’s focused in backing medtech firms with products that improve patient access in places with scant healthcare resources, initially eying digital health/AI offerings in India and sub-Saharan Africa. Its managing partner is medtech investor Yousuf Mazhar, an executive at Spiracur until its 2015 acquisition by Acelity. Ring led Bard from February 2003 until December 2017, when the BD buyout closed.
The fund has already invested in Forus Health and its digital ophthalmology technology; Jana Care, which is developing a mobile fingerstick diagnostic device; and Tricog’s ECG evaluation tech. It aims to bring eight to 10 companies into the fold, with a five-year window in which to invest and a 10-year horizon. Investments are slated to be measured by return and by their impact, according to a press release.
“Low-resource geographies are often limited in health services, providers and access to affordable medical technologies needed to address the growing burdens in global health. TEAMFund seeks to address this by identifying innovative technologies and then supporting those companies both financially and through deployment of its more than 55 medtech advisors to help them scale, become sustainable and maximize impact. This has truly become an industry-wide medtech collaboration: More than 14 medtech and pharma companies and an additional 14 former medtech CEOs have contributed to, or invested in, the non-profit or the fund. We can’t begin to express our deep gratitude to the many companies, foundations and individuals who have provided support and advisory experience and we look forward to continuing to steward this unprecedented medtech sector initiative on behalf of all of our partners in this effort,” Ring and Gleason said in prepared remarks.
“The companies we invest in can be located anywhere as long as they have a commercial footprint in those geographies,” Mazhar added. “We particularly target those companies with digital health/AI innovations, which we believe will greatly enhance clinician/healthcare worker capability to help combat the severe shortages of doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel in these regions. We also believe the convergence of tech and medtech not only enhances patient access in low-resource settings, but also can serve as platform technologies in developed markets seeking to improve efficiencies and lowering costs.”
“Impact is assessed most meaningfully when there is evidence-based understanding of the disease burden, population and challenges being targeted,” Gleason said. “We studied the various impact methodologies commonly used and concluded that medtech impact really needs customized assessments and reporting. Tapping into the low-resource challenges, needs and impact potential of a diabetes medtech company is very different from a cardiovascular or cancer company and, more generally, medtech for low-resource populations presents different issues than pharma and healthcare companies operating in this space. We are proud of our non-profit for its critical impact research, elevating the importance of impact and sharing impact learnings with all those who care about global health and medtech ecosystems serving global health needs.”