Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute
EstablishedJanuary 2018; 6 years ago (2018-01)
Founded atCambridge, Massachusetts
PurposeMedical research
Region served
Key people
  • Emilio A. Emini (CEO)
  • Michael Dunne (CMO)
Parent organization
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Budget (2018)
US$100 million
FundingBill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Endowment (2018)$273 million

The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (Gates MRI) is a non-profit biotechnology organization founded with the aim of bringing technologies and strategies to bear on the main health problems of the poor in low-income countries.[1] The Gates MRI was organized as a subsidiary of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who funded it with a $273 million 4-year grant.[2][3]


Upon its founding, the organization said it would focus on the early stages of research for cures and treatments before working with larger companies for large-scale production once proof of effectiveness had been established.[4] The Gates MRI has been described as a "nonprofit biotechnology company".[5] According to Forbes, the organization focuses on developing treatments for diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and diseases which cause diarrhea.[5] Combined, these three diseases alone cause five deaths every minute.[6][2] Chief executive officer Emilio A. Emini said the organization focuses in particular on diseases that are most present in low and middle income countries, where investment in treatments by large pharmaceutical companies is "limited and insufficient."[7]


Gates MRI was founded in January 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a nonprofit offshoot of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[8][5]


Among its first steps toward product development, Gates MRI announced plans to try and replicate earlier clinical findings that showed revaccinating adolescents against tuberculosis with the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine could give them added protection.[5] This vaccine is typically given to children when they are infants, but Phase 2 data suggests that also vaccinating at-risk adolescents may confer added preventative effect.[9] No commercial firm has yet been interested in testing this approach to extending tuberculosis immunization. As of May 2022, that research was still in clinical trials, expected to conclude in 2026.[10]

In 2019, Gates MRI expanded the scope of its mission to include maternal, newborn, and child health (MN2CH), in part driven by the health needs in these groups. In 2019 alone, worldwide 2.4 million children died during their first month of life,[11] while more than 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.[12]

Since then, the group has partnered with several others to explore treatments for various diseases. In 2020, Gates MRI partnered with Evotec, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, GSK plc, and TB Alliance to create the Project to Accelerate New Treatments for Tuberculosis (PAN-TB), a group working on developing new treatment regimens for tuberculosis.[13] Gates MRI licensed the M72 TB vaccine from GSK in 2020 and began an observational epidemiology study on latent TB infection in preparation for Phase III trials.[14][10]

In 2021, the Gates MRI partnered with the biotechnology firm Atreca to license a monoclonal antibody treatment for malaria.[15] In August 2022, plans for Phase II trials for a new tuberculosis treatment developed by PAN-TB were announced.[13] Gates MRI partnered with Merck Group in 2022 to further develop drugs to treat drug-resistant strains of TB.[16]


The organization was led from its founding until 2021 by Penny Heaton.[17][18] She was succeeded by Emilio A. Emini. Gates MRI is led by Emini and chief medical officer Michael Dunne.[19][20]


  1. ^ "Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute".
  2. ^ a b Branswell, H (2018). The Gates Foundation rolls out details of its new biotech, one without a profit motive. STAT. [1]
  3. ^ Chepkemoi, J. (25 April 2017). "The Wealthiest Charitable Foundations In the World". WorldAtlas. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  4. ^ Taylor, Nick Paul (June 8, 2018). "Gates Foundation's $100M-a-year nonprofit biotech takes flight". Fierce Biotech. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d Herper, Matthew (June 7, 2018). "Bill And Melinda Gates Start A Nonprofit Biotech In Boston". Forbes. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  6. ^ WHO Diarrheal disease fact sheet, updated May 2017; [2], WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2017;[3] WHO Malaria Policy and Advisory Committee Meeting Report 2018.[WHO Malaria Policy and Advisory Committee Meeting Report 2018]
  7. ^ "Member Spotlight: Q&A with The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute". MassBio. August 1, 2022. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  8. ^ Branswell, Helen (June 7, 2018). "The Gates Foundation rolls out details of its new biotech, one without a profit motive". Stat. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  9. ^ Nemes, et al. NEJM (July 12, 2018) "Prevention of M. tuberculosis Infection with H4:IC31 Vaccine or BCG Revaccination. [4]
  10. ^ a b Stent, James (May 10, 2022). "This vaccine could save tens of thousands of South African lives each year, but we'll only see it in 2030". News24. GroundUp. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  11. ^ "Newborns: improving survival and well-being". World Health Organization. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  12. ^ (Feb. 2018). Maternal mortality. World Health Organization
  13. ^ a b Mireku, Akosua (August 26, 2022). "PAN-TB's Phase II trials take a shot at shorter TB regimens". Pharmaceutical Technology. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  14. ^ Arthur, Rachel (April 5, 2022). "Gates MRI looks to Phase 3 tuberculosis vaccine trial with epidemiology study". Biopharma Reporter. Retrieved October 25, 2022.
  15. ^ LaHucik, Kyle (October 21, 2021). "GSK-backed Atreca inks license with Gates Medical Research Institute for malaria monoclonal antibody". Fierce Biotech. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  16. ^ Masson, Gabrielle (October 18, 2022). "Bill & Melinda Gates Institute licenses 2 of Merck's TB antibiotic candidates". Fierce Biotech. Retrieved October 25, 2022.
  17. ^ McGrane, Clare (June 11, 2018). "Gates Foundation's new research institute officially opens, targeting malaria and other global diseases". GeekWire. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  18. ^ Branswell, Helen (November 17, 2021). "Johnson and Johnson's new vaccines leader talks Covid-19, pipeline plans, and 'a golden opportunity' for clinical trials". Stat. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  19. ^ "Emilio A. Emini". The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  20. ^ "Gates Medical Research Institute – Tuberculosis Research". Health Professional Radio. September 1, 2022. Retrieved September 28, 2022.

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