T

here’s a new biotech in town. And it doesn’t care about making money.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spun out a nonprofit biotech offspring, the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute. With funding of $273 million for its first four years, the organization is in an enviable position.

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  • Is it possible to have an exploratory conversation with a representative of the Institute?

    • I am seeking support for studies using a drug applied topically which we think holds promise in treating cancers metastatic to skin, e.g., breast cancers involving the chest wall (some studies indicate this site of disease has the greatest negative effect on quality of life in patients with recurrent breast cancer, and it is a terrible problem in third world countries). We think it may also be useful in primary skin cancers, especially in organ transplant patients, who have 60-100 times the incidence of these diseases in the normal population and are the cause of death in 5-20% of transplant patients. I have been unable to obtain funding for this because it is an old drug (was in Phase I-II studies given IV) and may not be patentable. My colleagues and I think it holds great promise in a number of diseases both in this country and overseas. I would like to discuss this further with you. Ronald L. Richardson MD

  • Further human population expansion on the African continent will only further the destruction of what wildlife remains. That sounds cruel but the truth hurts.

    • If parents can trust that their children survive to adulthood they are more interested in family planning. Of course, this takes a multipronged approach, and in sub-Saharan Africa the population growth is alarming, but this has worked elsewhere in the world.

  • I am very interested in research into possible treatment options for Malaria and HIV/AIDS. We just completed a business plan into the manufacture of vaccines in Africa, for Africa, a proposal that has generated interest from a number of child immunisation stakeholders. Any information we can incorporate into our plans would be most appreciated.

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