Monday, December 16, 2019

Seattle's Infectious Disease Research Institute lays off scientists

Via the New York Times:
The future of a tuberculosis vaccine and research into other neglected diseases is in limbo after a Seattle institute abruptly laid off about one-third of its researchers, citing a financial crisis. The sudden staff cutbacks late last month at the Infectious Disease Research Institute have baffled many of the scientists — who were also working on a vaccine for leprosy and research into tropical diseases. 
The layoffs on the day before Thanksgiving also put in jeopardy federal grants for the scientists’ work. This fall, the National Institutes of Health awarded a contract of up to $45 million to the nonprofit and other collaborating institutions to study the body’s immune response to tuberculosis over several years... 
...The 26-year-old Seattle research institute has often struggled financially. It has scrambled to close a gap between research grants from federal and private sources and its overhead costs, and has operated at a loss for years. The founder, Steven G. Reed, stepped down earlier this year from his role as chief executive after years of turmoil in which executives and board members resigned over their dissatisfaction with his leadership.
Sad news for all of these scientists. Best wishes to them, and to all of us. 

1 comment:

  1. Indeed very sorry to hear. This is on top of others who left the TB and Malaria area alone and disappeared. Its left to Gates foundation to handle this. TB mostly considered third World disease, is one of the very slow growing pathogen and has gone resistant to many medications over the years and has taken avatar as "MDR" TB pathogen. ROI on investment for private companies or VC on these stubborn pathogens are little or nothing despite lot of initial enthusiasm and other marketing, notwithstanding. Tackling these diseases requires resilience (like TB!) and open ended funding mechanisms. Sad but true.


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