EU teams up with Gates Foundation to battle poverty-related diseases

The European Union and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged on Monday to team up to battle tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other poverty-related diseases.

Gates signed the agreement in Paris with Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European commissioner for research, innovation and science. The strategic partnership will provide additional research in the area of poverty-related diseases, including the development of life-saving interventions, drugs, vaccines and diagnostics and sustainable pathways to make sure products reach people in need.

"Our goal in this new partnership is to work together to develop at least one new and better health product per year," Geoghegan-Quinn said. "This will represent a big step forward for the millions who suffer from poverty-related diseases."

Between 2007 and 2011, the Gates Foundation and the European Commission contributed approximately $3.1 billion to research and development in the area of poverty-related diseases, supporting the development of more than 20 life-saving products.

"With sufficient resources and political commitment, we can together improve the lives of millions before the end of this decade," Gates said. "The foundation is completely committed to supporting efforts to develop life-saving products to help solve some of the world's toughest problems. Partnership with the commission and other funders is critical to the success of our common mission."

The Gates Foundation and the EC will also launch a joint innovation prize at the 2014 Innovation Convention to reward and recognize innovations that address global health challenges.

Much of the clinical development of new tools to treat and prevent the diseases will be carried out through the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership. The EDCTP is a flagship initiative of the EU with 30 sub-Saharan African and 16 European partner countries involved.