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With reports of new and unsettling antibiotic resistance developments coming in seemingly weekly, it’s tempting to worry that germageddon may be around the corner.

A new company, with backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and founded by venture capitalist Robert Nelsen, is positioning itself to be the cavalry. Vir Biotechnologies Inc., based in San Francisco, was launched Friday to find cures for and treatments to prevent infectious diseases. Its CEO is George Scangos, who formerly held the top position at Biogen. Vicki Sato, a former president of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and VP of research for Biogen, is chairman of the board.


A release setting out the goals of the new company highlights the need for new approaches to preventing or treating infections like hepatitis B, influenza, and tuberculosis, and combatting the scourge of antibiotic resistance.

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