Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute

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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] Its CEO is Penny M. Heaton, MD.


The Gates MRI is a “biotech-within-a-charity," as described in[4] As such, it plans to work on specific biotechnology projects, such as vaccines.

While this type of work is a mainstay of biomedical research it has been skewed toward diseases of the rich, which comprise more attractive markets. In addition, pharmaceutical companies have a high failure rate for drug development.[5]

Established in January 2018, Gates MRI’s initial focus was on malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrheal diseases. Combined, these three diseases alone cause five deaths every minute.[6][2]

In 2019, Gates MRI expanded the scope of its mission to include maternal, newborn, and child health (MN2CH). More than 800 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.[7] Meanwhile in 2017 alone, worldwide 2.5 million children died during their first month of life – about 7000 babies per day.[8]

Among its first steps toward product development, Gates MRI has 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.[4] 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.


Gates MRI partners with academic researchers, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, global health organizations, and others. Its own work is focused on early and middle-stage development, but the Institute collaborates around a range of areas - from basic science through public health outcomes studies. In particular, Gates MRI seeks scientific discoveries and partners that can take compounds that have graduated from Phase II clinical trials through the final stages of development and approval.[1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "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 (2017). The Wealthiest Charitable Foundations In the World. World Atlas. [2]
  4. ^ a b Herper, M (2018). Bill And Melinda Gates Start A Nonprofit Biotech In Boston [3]
  5. ^ (June, 2017). Counting the cost of failure in drug development. Pharmaceutical Technology. [4]
  6. ^ WHO Diarrheal disease fact sheet, updated May 2017; [5], WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2017;[6] WHO Malaria Policy and Advisory Committee Meeting Report 2018.[WHO Malaria Policy and Advisory Committee Meeting Report 2018]
  7. ^ (Feb. 2018). Maternal mortality. World Health Organization
  8. ^ (Sept. 2018.Newborns: Reducing mortality. World Health Organization. [7]
  9. ^ Nemes, et al. NEJM (July 12, 2018) "Prevention of M. tuberculosis Infection with H4:IC31 Vaccine or BCG Revaccination. [8]