BOSTON (June 7, 2018) – Every two minutes, a child under five dies of malaria.1 Every day, approximately 4,600 people die of tuberculosis.2 Every year, more than 500,000 children under five die of diarrhea.3 Combined, these three diseases cause over five deaths every minute, which is more than 2.6 million deaths every year.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (Gates MRI), a non-profit biotech organization funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is taking steps toward advancing the development of novel drug and vaccine candidates for diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest populations. Aligned with the vision of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Gates MRI’s goals are to eradicate malaria, accelerate the end of the tuberculosis epidemic, and end diarrheal deaths in children.
The Gates MRI aims to jump-start the development of new tools against three incredibly tough diseases. Its focus is translational medicine, advancing novel drug and vaccine candidates against the aforementioned diseases from the laboratory into early stage human studies.
Since its inception in April 2017, the Gates MRI has made strides to support advancement toward these goals. The organization officially opened doors in January 2018. Growing from one employee to 20 in just six months, the Gates MRI has made strategic hires in leadership, development, science, and legal and compliance positions and there are plans to double the number of employees by the end of 2018.
In its first steps toward product development, the Gates MRI plans to initiate a study to replicate earlier clinical findings which showed promise in revaccinating adolescents against tuberculosis with the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine. Phase 2 data show that a second dose of the vaccine, which is primarily used in infants, may have a preventative effect when administered to at-risk adolescents. The Gates MRI looks forward to sharing updates about this study.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute
Aligned with the vision of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (the Gates MRI) is a non-profit biotech organization focused on accelerating the product development timeline for diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest populations. The Gates MRI’s goals are to eradicate malaria, accelerate the end of the tuberculosis epidemic, and end diarrheal deaths in children. It is headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and led by CEO Penny Heaton, MD.
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- 1 WHO Malaria Policy and Advisory Committee Meeting Report 2018
- 2 WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2017
- 3 WHO Diarrhoeal disease fact sheet, updated May 2017