The Medtronic Foundation said Wednesday that it will donate more than $4 million in grants to international groups that address non-communicable diseases -- such as heart disease and diabetes -- in developing countries.

According to the World Economic Forum, non-communicable diseases account for roughly 75 percent of healthcare costs in advanced and developing economies. In addition, Medtronic says these diseases account for 60 percent of all deaths worldwide.

The announcement was made in conjunction with a conference called “Tackling the Endemic Non-Communicable Diseases of the Bottom Billion” hosted by the Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the Harvard School of Public Health, Partners In Health and the NCD Alliance. The conference is expected to provide recommendations for the United Nations’ High-level Meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on the prevention and control of these diseases in September.

The announcement follows a previously announced $1 million Medtronic Foundation grant to the NCD Alliance, a coalition of non-profit organizations working on recommendations for the upcoming U.N. meeting.

Janet Moore covers medical technology for the Star Tribune.