Delaware biotech company gets Gates grant

    Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Molecular Biotechnology in Newark is receiving nearly 10 million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to move development of its transmission blocking vaccine for malaria to its next stage.

    Fraunhofer USA’s Center for Molecular Biotechnology in Newark is receiving nearly 10 million dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to move development of  its transmission blocking vaccine for malaria to its next stage.

    The Gates foundation’s $9.85 million dollar grant will allow Fraunhofer to move from the pre-clinical to clinical stage.

    “Receiving this grant is definitely continued validation of our work, because we had the first grant that was for certain deliverables.  Because we delivered that, we are receiving this grant.” said the center’s executive director Dr. Vidadi Yusibov, “We already have proof of concept  for candidates we want to take and test in humans.  So, its almost approaching the clinical trials stage.”

    “They (the Gates Foundation) like to find organizations that demonstration excellence in what they do and potential for further breakthroughs. They find both here at Fraunhofer.” said Governor Jack Markell (D-Delaware).

    The World Health Organization reports 41 percent of the world’s population lives in areas where malaria is transmitted, and each year more than one million people die from the disease, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa.

    The grant will also bring new biotech jobs to Delaware.

    Dr. Yusibov says each grant Fraunhofer receives translates into new positions at the Center for Molecular Biotechnology.

    “When we started this phase of of our development, we projected approximately an increase of 20 jobs in one year.  Right now, we exceeded it two times. We’ve increased by 40 jobs.” Dr. Dr. Yusibov, “This grant itself will create additional jobs.  And the jobs we’re creating are high-tech, high impact jobs.”

    Which is just what Governor Markell wants to hear.

    “For me to see the kind of growth that you all have experience since Fraunhofer started in Delaware, and the kind of growth you expect to see in coming months and coming years is a very big deal.” said Governor Markell,  “What makes it even better is that it is a “win-win”.  You can come here and we can have really good jobs.  But the fact that you are doing something that is saves people’s lives, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

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