Last month at BIO 2018, the biotech industry's annual convention, in Boston, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation took the wraps off its nonprofit biotech spinoff. First announced just over a year ago, the Gates Medical Research Institute (MRI) has set up shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 20 employees and plans to grow to as many as 120 in three years. Armed with $100 million a year in funding, the biotech-within-a-charity will focus on developing new treatments and vaccines for tuberculosis, malaria, and enteric and diarrheal diseases, which together kill 3 million people a year in the developing world, but are low priorities at pharma companies because of limited commercial prospects. Gates MRI hopes to apply new understanding of the human immune system learned from cancer research to prevent infectious disease, and plans to take drugs, vaccines and other assets from preclinical stages all the way through clinical trials to regulatory approval. The project is headed by Penny Heaton, former director of the Gates Foundation, and prior to that, global head of clinical research clusters for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. She says of Gates MRI's first project, testing whether a booster shot of Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine in adolescents can increase their resistance to tuberculosis, “These studies need to be done, but this is a very inexpensive vaccine, and there's not a big market—there would be no incentive for a private partner to take on a study of this nature.”