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Gates Foundation Invests $10 Million in Vaccines Developer

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March 4 (Bloomberg) -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invested $10 million in Liquidia Technologies, a closely held biotechnology company developing vaccines, as part of a $400 million initiative to fund activities to help poorer countries.

Liquidia is developing a seasonal flu vaccine and has an agreement with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to use its technology to work on new malaria vaccines, the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. The $400 million program provides low-interest loans, loan guarantees and equity investments to help finance organizations that meet the group’s focus areas.

Microsoft Corp. Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates, in his 2010 annual foundation letter, highlighted the need for a malaria vaccine to eradicate the disease, calling it “the highest-risk malaria work we fund.” The foundation has supplied $13.8 billion in global health funding since 1994, according to its website.

“Funding innovation is a key to addressing the unmet health needs of the world’s poorest people,” Doug Holtzman, deputy director for the foundation’s infectious diseases team, said in the statement. “This unique investment partnership will help us advance vaccine development as part of our commitment to help research, develop and deliver vaccines for the world’s poorest countries.”

Liquidia investors also include Canaan Partners, New Enterprise Associates, PPD Inc., Morningside Venture Investments Limited, Pappas Ventures and Firelake Capital, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net.

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