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New biotech firm launching to fight infectious diseases

Former Biogen CEO George Scangos is launching a new biotech startup called VIR Technology set to focus on fighting infectious diseases like HIV and TB.

Background check: Scangos founded the third-best performing biotech stock, Exelixis. Even though Biogen has engaged in risky research ventures that have fumbled investors, sales at Biogen more than doubled under his leadership.

Who is paying: The Gates Foundation gave a nod to the new venture and will help fund it. VIR is also seeking funding that will likely amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, per Forbes.

Why it matters: Other drug companies have been backing away from working on infectious diseases. In 2013 there were only four big pharma companies researching treatments for ID, according to The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).