Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

A New Partnership to Accelerate Vaccine Research and Development

October 29, 2013

Accelerating the development of affordable new vaccines for the developing world is one of the most important factors in reducing child deaths and lifting the burden of disease that afflicts many poor countries. Even as global child deaths have declined from 12.6 million to 6.6 million over the last two decades, preventable diseases like pneumonia, diarrheal disease and malaria  remain the world’s leading causes of death among children under age 5.  

That’s why I was particularly pleased to participate in an announcement today at the annual Grand Challenges Meeting in Brazil about a new initiative that will lead to better and more effective approaches to vaccine research and development.

This new effort – known as the Vaccine Discovery Partnership – will be a way for our foundation to work directly with pharmaceutical companies on promising new vaccines for global health.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi are the first two companies with whom we’ve signed agreements. We’re optimistic that other pharmaceutical companies will also join the partnership.

Pharmaceutical companies have made tremendous contributions to improving global health, including the critical role they play in developing and producing vaccines. We believe this new mechanism will be a way for them to do much more by engaging more deeply to extend the benefit of life-saving vaccines to the poorest countries in the world.

We will work with each company individually to identify a promising set of research projects that are aligned with our foundation’s priorities. Projects funded through the Vaccine Discovery Partnership will span the R&D lifecycle – from preclinical to experimental medicine Phase IIa trials.

One of the first projects we are working on – with GSK – focuses on increasing the thermostabilization of new generation vaccines to facilitate delivery of such vaccines in special administration and campaign settings in resource-limited countries. The goal would be to build thermostability into vaccines as an integral  part of new generation vaccine development.

By working together with pharmaceutical companies, these new partnerships will reduce the risks associated with early-stage vaccine research, and increase the likelihood that the most promising new vaccines are developed quickly, and at lower cost.  This will be a win for everyone involved but most importantly for the children around the world who will get the life-saving vaccines they need.

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