Gates Foundation Grants Biotech Firm Aeras $220 Million Over 5 Years To Develop TB Vaccines

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is “to give $220 million over five years to the non-profit biotech firm Aeras to develop vaccines to fight tuberculosis [TB], a company statement said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports (3/15). The “grant will allow Aeras to advance several vaccine candidates into pivotal large-scale efficacy trials in South Africa and elsewhere,” South Africa’s Health-e writes (Thom, 3/15). According to AFP, Aeras “has developed six possible TB vaccines that are being tested across Africa, Asia, Europe and America” (3/15).

“Aeras estimates a total of $400-500 million will be needed over the next five years to fund activities,” Health-e writes, noting, “The Gates grant provides approximately half of the estimated cost of meeting 2012 to 2016 milestone targets” (3/15). “Trevor Mundel, president of the global health program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said the development of successful vaccines ‘would be the single greatest advance in the global fight against TB,'” AFP writes (3/15).