Microsoft Corporation Founder, William Henry Gates III, primarily known as Bill Gates, pledged $12 million in funding for universal flu vaccines.
Gates announced that half of the money used for the funding would be coming from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Further, the other half would be funded by the family of Google’s Co-Founder, Larry Page.
Microsoft became the world’s largest PC software company. Back in January 2000, Gates stepped down as Chief Executive Officer but remained the chairman of the company.
The Microsoft founder then decided to let go of his position as the chairman of Microsoft in February 2014 to work and focus on the Bill & Melina Gates Foundation, which was put up in 2006.
The Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenge is emphasized by its commitment to funding bold, innovative ideas that stem from a place of collaboration.
“Our collective belief is that innovation is catalyzed through rigorous collaboration and enriching of ecosystems, and we hope this Grand Challenge will stimulate creative thinking beyond the traditional influenza community,” the foundation announced.
The foundation proposed four broad feasible research category ideas. Namely, 1) antigen-centric, or discovering new antigens/targets through machine learning/A.I.; 2) host-centric approaches that modify the human immune system; 3) technology-centric or the application of radically new technologies for disease protections; and 4) enabling advances, including challenge models to quickly demonstrate safety and proof-of-concept.
$2 million that will be paid over two years is said to be enough for researchers to collect preliminary data in animal models. The other $10 million will be used for taking vaccine candidates to human trials that could push through by 2021.
Paul Radspinner, President, and CEO of FloGen, the funding of gates Foundation for flu vaccines was great news. Also, he believed that this was just the first of many announcements by the foundation.
In an interview with STAT, Gates said, “This is the early-stage money.” He also added, “this $12 million isn’t the end of the game.”