Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation doubles down on health partnership with South Korea — report
As drugmakers race to bring Omicron-specific vaccines to market, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is already focused on the next pandemic. And on Tuesday, the Microsoft founder reportedly agreed to double down on the foundation’s partnership with South Korea.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and South Korea have pledged to collaborate on projects such as a global health research fund, and work with other health organizations like CEPI to address disparities and advance programs in infectious diseases, Reuters and the Associated Press reported.
“I am confident that with these steps we can continue to radically improve global health, to cut the number of children dying in half again, to eradicate diseases like polio, measles and malaria, and improve the lives of all humans,” Gates said in a speech to South Korean lawmakers, per the AP.
SK Group, South Korea’s second largest conglomerate, also announced on Tuesday that it’s co-leading a $750 million funding round with Gates for TerraPower, a US-based developer of nuclear reactors. While carbon-free power is one of TerraPower’s main focuses, the company also has the ability to produce the medical radioisotope Actinium-225 (Ac-225), which is used as a raw material in some cancer therapies.
“Whether it’s addressing climate change with carbon-free advanced nuclear energy, or fighting cancer with nuclear isotopes, our team is deploying technology solutions and investors across the world are taking note,” TerraPower CEO Chris Levesque said in a statement.
The Gates foundation has struck a series of recent deals aiming to curb infectious diseases, including a $90 million funding round with the Novo Nordisk Foundation and Open Philanthropy back in March to support a new initiative called Pandemic Antiviral Discovery (PAD). The foundation also expanded its partnership with Vir Biotechnology back in January for its T-cell vaccine program.