The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launches a new non-profit biotech startup
The Bill and & Melinda Gates Foundation has revealed that it has established a new biotech start up, with the aim to eradicate diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, alongside enteric diseases which remain responsible for up to three million deaths per annum yet provide limited financial incentives for profit driven companies.
To bolster its efforts, the organisation does not seek to make money from the venture, STAT has reported.
Placing significant investment in developing new drugs and vaccines, the Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (MRI) will therefore take any new development through to clinical proof of concept and bring new treatments to market.
“We don’t have to worry about revenue, return on investment. Our bottom line is lives saved. So, it’s a pretty exciting place to be,” explained Dr Penny Heaton, Novavax’s former Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Development.
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“Our mission is to develop products that will enable the end of diarrheal disease deaths, eradication of malaria … and to accelerate the end of the TB epidemic.”
With an annual budget of $100mn, the organisation will be led by experienced individuals, such as Trevor Mundel, Head of the Gates Foundation’s global health operations and David Kaufman from Merck Research Labs, and many more, which will also filter into its continual recruitment drive.
“TB still has 1.7mn deaths every year. Malaria accounts for nearly 500,000 deaths every year. You look at enteric disease and while the rotavirus vaccines have done amazing things, we still have 500,000 deaths from enteric diseases every year in children under five,” explained Heaton.
By breaking down silos, the organisation will first aim to tackle tuberculosis and will look at providing a booster hot of the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine for adolescents to reduce escalating figures.
However, any advancements within the production of new drugs will come with a caveat, to ensure all developments are provided at affordable prices and can be developed rapidly to prevent potential outbreaks.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”