Acumen Blog

Making more malaria treatments available

Africa - artemisia.jpgAcumen Fund investee Advanced Bio-Extracts Limited (ABE) is working hard to fight malaria by producing low-cost artemisinin in East Africa. Artemisinin is a key ingredient in the new malaria treatments (artemisinin-based combination therapies or ACTs) recommended by the World Health Organization to fight the increase in cases of drug-resistant malaria.

As this recent article in The New York Times explains, until recently, the high cost of ACTs significantly limited the drugs’ availability to the people most in need. The high cost was a result of many things, including limited availability of the raw material used to produce artemisinin. In the past few years, ABE has played a key role in scaling-up raw material production and pushing the cost of artemisinin down. Whereas ACTs used to be sold in Africa for $3 – $4 per adult treatment, they now cost approximately $1 per adult treatment.

In January 2007, ABE commissioned the first factory in Africa to produce artemisinin and has delivered enough artemisinin to treat 3 million cases of malaria in only two months. ABE expects to manufacture 50 million ACTs (malaria treatments) by the end of the year. In addition to supplying artemisinin to the leading producer of ACTs for the World Health Organization, ABE is affiliated with the pharmaceutical company that will manufacture ASAQ, the anti-malaria medicine mentioned in the NYT article. ABE is excited about the introduction of ASAQ and believes that the fewer pills required will significantly improve the effectiveness of the medication. Many people discontinue treatment mid-dosage with other ACTs because of the high number of pills required. It is exciting to support a company that is making such an enormous impact on the fight against malaria.  


Reflections on the India Fellows Seminar

Each year, the India Fellows Program brings together up to 20 emerging leaders from different regions, sectors, and socio-economic backgrounds in India. During the fellowship year, Fellows remain in their jobs and meet every 6-8 weeks throughout the year for 4 seminars and 2 collaborative projects, each about a week long. As the India Fellows Associate, Jacqui is responsible for supporting all aspects of the program recruitment, logistics, marketing and strategic planning. Below, Jacqui reflects on the first seminar, Foundations of Leadership. You can read more about the fellowship program here[Read More]

Adaptive Leadership in Action: Addressing Cultural Norms & Giving Women a Voice

In the fall of 2013, +Acumen launched the course Adaptive Leadership: Mobilizing for Change in partnership with the Cambridge Leadership Associates. This course is for anyone who wants to become more effective at leading their organization through change. Below, one of the course participants shared her story about how this course impacted her work and ability to affect change. [Read More]

Making Sense of Social Impact in Action: The Value of Educating Our Youth

At Acumen, one of the most common questions we get is how we measure social impact. Our newest +Acumen course – Making Sense of Social Impact: Acumen’s Building Blocks for Impact Analysis. – will provide an entry point for how to think about impact and we’ll share frameworks that help us define what to measure and why. Makoto Matsuura, founder of cobon a not-for-profit focused on youth education in Jakarta, Indonesia and Osaka, Japan, took a pilot version of this course and shared his reflections with us. [Read More]

Good news for philanthropists in the U.K. and Europe

We are excited to announce that Acumen now holds a CAF Charitable Trust in the United Kingdom. CAF, the Charities Aid Foundation, is a registered U.K. charity. By donating to Acumen through CAF, you can use Gift Aid if the amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax you’ve paid for the tax year in which you make your donation is at least equal to the amount of basic rate tax  [the charity or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and any other charities or CASCs] you donate to will reclaim on your gift. CAF will reclaim 25% Gift Aid from HM Revenue & Customs and pass this through to Acumen.  The donor can claim higher rate tax relief (for more information, please refer to CAF’s online resource, What Is Gift Aid?). [Read More]

d.light Leaders Named 2014 Social Entrepreneurs of the Year

We are thrilled for our portfolio company d.light and Donn Tice, Chairman and CEO, along with cofounders Ned Tozun, President, and Sam Goldman, Chief Customer Officer, for being named Social Entrepreneurs of the year 2014 by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. d.light is a for-profit social enterprise that manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products with primary markets in the developing world, today announced that d.light, along with 37 other individuals and organizations in the 2014 class, will be fully integrated into the events and initiatives of the World Economic Forum. [Read More]