Lives saved through venture philanthropy

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of a new breed seen as a venture philanthropists, with lives saved the gains sought for.

Nonprofits such as the Gates Foundation and Seattle-based PATH are working with pharmaceutical companies to push development of vaccines for neglected diseases that ravage developing nations.

They've taken the unorthodox step of paying for research the drug companies would not do otherwise, because there isn't demand for such drugs in wealthier countries.

The foundation also must provide funds for poor countries to buy the vaccines, convince government leaders to include them in their health budgets and find an effective distribution system. It's like building a market from scratch, said Erik Iverson, the foundation's associate general counsel.

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