Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Seeking Proposals for New Approaches for Manufacturing Gut Microbial Biotherapeutics

This call for proposals seeks fundamentally new strategies for manufacturing gut microbial biotherapeutics to achieve manufacturing efficiency and cost reductions necessary for global health applications. We are particularly open to high risk, unproven concepts that could yield novel systems. We also encourage approaches that may be carried out in low- and middle- income countries (LMIC) and proposers currently working in these settings.

Strategies could include (but are certainly not limited to or constrained by) the following ideas:

  • Different reactor designs including continuous stirred-tank, multistage and/or multiphasic bioreactors with small footprints
  • Disposable or low capital cost bioreactor designs
  • Spatial structuring or immobilization at varying length scales, spatial gradients, media viscosity (i.e. liquid or solid state)
  • Dynamically changing growth conditions and inoculation strategies reducing batch-to-batch variability
  • Various growth conditions including temperature, gas composition, mixing and dilution rate
  • Novel, low-cost media components

Proposals should specifically detail how they will demonstrate a prototype process operating at lab-scale or greater enabling the manufacture of a diverse health-associated gut microbiota as may be expected in a live biotherapeutic product, specifically 1) production of at least 10 distinct strains derived from the healthy human gut 2) including at least two strains from the Firmicutes phylum of which at least one strain is highly oxygen-sensitive, at least two strains from the Bacteroidetes phylum and at least two strains from the Actinobacteria phylum. These strains could be obtained from commercial culture collections (i.e. ATCC or DSMZ) or may be novel isolates. It is likely that the growth of multiple strains together simultaneously may be required for efficiency although other strategies can be pursued.


Funding Information

  • Awards of $100,000 USD are made in Phase I.
  • Phase I awardees have one opportunity to apply for a follow-on Phase II award of up to $1,000,000 USD.

Eligibility Criteria

GCE is open to both foreign and domestic organizations, including non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, international organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions.

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Erk Makigi

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