PENNY HEATON arrived in Boston late last year with an ambitious mandate: to build, from scratch, a nonprofit research group that will help tackle, even eradicate, some of the world’s most deadly ailments—malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrheal disease. The new Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, which Heaton leads as CEO, has $273 million to support its first four years of work. Its plan is to take preclinical drug and vaccine candidates from biotechs and academic labs and usher them through to mid-stage clinical trials. The institute then aims to find partners that will finish development, get those drugs to market, and offer them at affordable prices.
Penny Heaton, Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute • Photography by David Fox Photographer