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Charity subsidizing much drug research

April 25, 2006 at 10:53 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- A charity-led effort to subsidize drug company research reportedly might result in as many as 10 new drugs being approved by the end of this decade.

Drug and biotechnology companies have launched more than 60 projects in recent years to discover new treatments for a wide array of neglected diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis. And most of the work is being subsidized by charitable contributions, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

A study by the London School of Economics and Political Science, however, says progress is dependent on increasing contributions from wealthier nations.

At least half of the nearly $255 million contributed as of April 2005 came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Post said, with lesser contributions from organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, the Wellcome Trust and the Rockefeller Foundation.

"Who's actually funding this is essentially Bill Gates," Mary Moran, principal author of the new British report, said during a presentation Monday at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "Now we need the public to step in and take it to the next stage."

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