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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Reed Smith’s Social Impact Finance Group Structures World’s First Cross-border Healthcare Impact Bond

Press Release – LONDON – December 6, 2017 – On November 30, UBS Optimus Foundation and Palladium International Limited announced the formation of the world’s first healthcare development impact bond, aimed to reduce mother and baby deaths in Rajasthan, India. Reed Smith LLP acted as lead transaction counsel on both the structuring and legal aspects of the DIB.

Optimus will provide upfront funding up to $3.5 million over three years to Palladium, who will be managing the implementation of the DIB. USAID and Merc for Mothers are Outcome Payers on the transaction.

This ground-breaking impact bond will focus on reducing the number of maternal and newborn deaths in Rajasthan, India. Rajasthan has one of the highest maternal and newborn mortality rates in the country, with 244 maternal deaths per 100,000 births and 47 infant deaths per 1000 live births. The Maternal and Newborn Health DIB – known as the ‘Utkrisht bond’, taken from the Hindi for ‘Excellence’ – will support government efforts to reduce maternal and newborn deaths by improving access to, and the quality of care in, up to 440 private healthcare facilities in Rajasthan. The improvements are expected to benefit up to 600,000 women and could lead to more than 10,000 maternal and newborn lives being saved over five years.

The Reed Smith team was led by London-based partner Ranajoy Basu and included Andrzej Janiszewski (Counsel), Priya Taneja (Senior Associate) and Richelle Teo (Associate). The Reed Smith team had also advised Optimus on its first DIB, the three-year Educate Girls DIB that aims to keep girls from dropping out of schools and to improve education performance.

“Impact bonds are an innovative way of financing international development. They are 100% focused on outcomes and have the potential to leverage private philanthropic capital to address some of the world’s greatest challenges,” said Basu.

The bond is Optimus’ second DIB in Rajasthan. In 2015, Reed Smith also advised Optimus on the three-year Educate Girls DIB, which is focused on improving educational performance of girls in Rajasthan. This bond was the world’s first development impact bond for education, and the second-year results indicate exciting progress for the program.

These two ground-breaking DIBs follow on from the wider work of Reed Smith’s global Social Impact Finance Group, which represents organisations and individuals – including investors, social entrepreneurs, financial institutions, private and institutional investors, social enterprises, and microfinance institutions – who are pioneering the development of innovative business models to address pressing social need.

For additional information, please refer to announcements made by Optimus and Palladium announcing this DIB and partner organizations.

About Reed Smith

Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm, dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward.

Its long-standing relationships, international outlook and collaborative structure make it a go-to partner for speedy resolution of complex disputes, transactions, and regulatory matters.

For further information, please visit

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