Bill Gates Announces $168 Million to Develop Next-Generation Malaria Vaccine

    At UN Summit, Gates Heralds New Progress in Malaria Control and R&D

    NEW YORK, Sept. 25 /CNW/ -- Bill Gates announced today that the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation will provide $168.7 million to PATH for its Malaria
Vaccine Initiative to develop vaccines for malaria -- a disease that kills
thousands of African children every day.

    The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) is working with GlaxoSmithKline
Biologicals to develop a first-generation vaccine candidate, known as RTS,S,
which could become the first-ever approved malaria vaccine.  With the new
grant announced today, MVI will support the development of next-generation
vaccines that could provide even greater and longer-lasting protection.

    "I'm very hopeful that the malaria vaccine currently in advanced testing
will be proven effective, but that will just be the first step," said Gates,
co-chair of the Gates Foundation.  "Now it's time to develop a new generation
of vaccines that are even more effective, and could someday help eradicate
malaria altogether."

    Gates announced the new funding at the UN Millennium Development Goals
Malaria Summit, a meeting of heads of state, CEOs, UN officials, and other
leaders.  At the event, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership launched the Global
Malaria Action Plan, a comprehensive global strategy to fight malaria.  The
Gates Foundation grant and other commitments announced today will help address
key priorities in the Action Plan.

    Grant to Support Research on a New Generation of Malaria Vaccines

    The Gates Foundation grant will support MVI's efforts to expand its
vaccine R&D pipeline with projects ranging from early-stage laboratory
research to advanced clinical testing.  MVI will work with partners to
discover new antigens and adjuvants that could lead to more effective
vaccines, and develop new tools to select the most promising candidates for
further development.

    MVI will also work to foster a more competitive vaccine marketplace and
help ensure that future vaccines will be affordable and accessible in
developing countries.  They will conduct market assessments, demand
forecasting, and modeling studies to guide policymakers and vaccine
manufacturers, and partner with vaccine makers in developing countries to keep
costs low.

    "These new funds are recognition that we have a solid research and
development strategy, and the team to deliver on it," said Dr. Christian
Loucq, Director of MVI.  "This commitment should signal to potential research
partners that the time is ripe to work with us to help defeat this horrible
disease.  Already, we have added to our roster of partners and entered into
collaborative agreements on vaccine components, ways to boost their potency,
and methods for testing their biological activity."

    "Our strategy for developing a malaria vaccine follows the PATH approach
to neglected diseases, which has shown that investment in core areas of
research and development, particularly vaccine technology, does yield
important advances," said Dr. Christopher J. Elias, president and CEO of PATH.
 "The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative is now ready to accelerate further the
development of what the world urgently needs: safe, effective, and affordable
vaccines that reduce the suffering caused by malaria."

    The grant addresses one of the priorities in the new Global Malaria
Action Plan, released today by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.  The plan
provides a unified global strategy for fighting malaria, including greater use
of today's tools, and research on vaccines and other new technologies.

    "The Global Malaria Action Plan makes a compelling case for greater
investment in malaria," said Gates.  "If we have the chance to save millions
of lives, and a clear plan to make it happen, we have an obligation to act. 
We're committed to supporting a range of efforts to make the Action Plan a
reality -- today's grant is just the first step."

    New Malaria Control Success in Zambia and Ethiopia

    Gates hailed new data from the World Malaria Report, released last week
by WHO, showing encouraging progress against malaria in several African
countries through 2006.  He also highlighted more recent data from Zambia and
Ethiopia that further demonstrate the impact of aggressive, large-scale
malaria control programs.

    The Zambian health ministry reported this week that since 2006, malaria
control efforts have helped to reduce malaria parasite prevalence in children
by 50%.  Since 2002, the percentage of households with at least one
insecticide-treated mosquito net has increased from 14% to 60%, and malaria
control successes have helped to reduce overall child mortality by 29%.

    Earlier this month, Ethiopia's health ministry announced that it has
reached nearly 70% of households in high-risk areas with at least one
insecticide-treated mosquito net and/or indoor residual spraying, and that
effective malaria treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapy is now
available nationwide.

    "The good news from Ethiopia and Zambia demonstrates that extraordinary
progress can be made against malaria, even in the poorest and most remote
communities," said Gates.  "By building on and replicating these successes
globally, we can save millions of lives."

    Both countries are partners in the Malaria Control and Evaluation
Partnership in Africa (MACEPA), a PATH initiative that is funded by the Gates

    Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.  In
developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them
the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.  In the
United States, it seeks to ensure that all people -- especially those with the
fewest resources -- have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in
school and life.  Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes
and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda
Gates and Warren Buffett.


    On the Internet:
    Gates Foundation,
    PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative,
    Roll Back Malaria Partnership,


For further information:

For further information: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
+1-206-709-3400, Web Site:        

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