Nonprofit pharma co. debuts

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This is interesting. From a press release:

A $42.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Institute for OneWorld Health, the first nonprofit pharmaceutical company in the United States, will create a powerful new approach to developing a more affordable, accessible cure for malaria, which kills more than a million children each year.

OneWorld is partnering with the University of California, Berkeley, which will "research a way to perfect a microbial factory for the compound artemisinin, currently the most effective treatment for malaria." The other partner in the project is a new biotech company called Amyris, which "will develop the process for industrial fermentation and commercialization. OneWorld Health will perform the drug development and regulatory work to demonstrate the bioequivalence of microbially-produced artemisinin derivative to the drug s natural form."

To ensure affordability, UC Berkeley has issued a royalty-free license to both OneWorld Health and Amyris, of Albany, Calif., to develop the technology for malaria treatments. In exchange, Amyris will produce the drugs at cost, and OneWorld Health will perform the detailed non-clinical regulatory work that will be required by United States and other global agencies to allow the low-cost, microbially-based product to be substituted for plant-based product by manufacturers of combination drugs containing artemisinin.

I doubt this will have much of an impact on CME, but kudos to the Gates' for this one.

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