Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Celebrates 20 Years of Outstanding Partnerships to Advance Biomedical Research with Inaugural Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award

BETHESDA, MD, October 19, 2016 — The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) has selected two longstanding, private-sector partners — Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Pfizer — as recipients of the inaugural Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award. Honoring 20 years of advancing biomedical research under the leadership of former Chairman of the Board Charles A. Sanders, M.D., the award recognizes persons and/or organizations that have made significant contributions to the FNIH’s work to build, implement and nurture private-public partnerships in support of the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“We are celebrating two partners that have made absolutely transformational commitments to the FNIH at a pivotal juncture in our history. Their gifts created cornerstone programs and paved the way for our partnerships with literally hundreds of other organizations dedicated to driving biomedical research worldwide,” said Steven M. Paul, M.D., Chairman of the FNIH Board. “For their early transformational commitments to FNIH and their scientific leadership, we are proud to present one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the world, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer, with the first Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award.”

The Gates Foundation became one of the FNIH’s key partners 13 years ago, supporting 13 projects focused on the world’s most pressing health challenges, such as malaria, HIV, dengue and Zika viruses, tuberculosis and child malnutrition. The Gates Foundation’s initial investment in 2003 launched the FNIH’s largest public-private partnership program, the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative, which encouraged application of the latest scientific and technological innovations to create new health tools to fight diseases that kill millions of people in developing countries. This partnership expanded the internal infrastructure of the FNIH by bringing award-winning, globally-recognized scientists to its team. It also established the FNIH’s capacity for independent grant making. The Eliminate Dengue project, a promising program born from the Grand Challenges Initiative, is developing a cost-effective strategy to reduce the transmission of viral diseases such as dengue and Zika. The Gates Foundation’s partnership continues with more than $413 million in support to date.

Pfizer, one of the FNIH’s first partners, has supported the Foundation for nearly two decades. The company’s initial gift sustained the NIH Clinical Research Training Program, which fostered the careers of research-oriented medical and dental students through first-hand training at the NIH. Pfizer’s support helped build a critical pipeline of biomedical researchers and clinician-scientists. The company’s scientific leadership and more than $75 million in donations to date helped to expand the understanding of the genetic causes of common diseases, to support pediatric testing programs for drugs according to the provisions of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, to change the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease by identifying biological markers (biomarkers) that signal its progression, and to develop research that identifies and works to qualify promising biomarkers for use in diagnosing disease through the FNIH Biomarkers Consortium. Additionally, two Pfizer Chief Medical Officers, Freda C. Lewis-Hall, M.D., DFAPA, and her predecessor, Joseph M. Feczko, M.D., have brought their vision and leadership to the FNIH by serving as members of the Board.

“We at Pfizer are honored to be among the inaugural recipients of this award, which is named for one of the world’s great thinkers and actors in the fields of health and medicine, and an inspiration to all of us devoted to the noble work of the FNIH to advance scientific and medical knowledge,” said Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., President, Worldwide Research and Development at Pfizer.

The Charles A. Sanders, M.D., Partnership Award will be presented at a ceremony on October 19, 2016 in Bethesda, MD. For more information, please visit

About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the NIH, the world’s premier medical research agency. The Foundation, also known as the FNIH, works with its partners to accelerate biomedical research and strategies against diseases and health concerns in the United States and across the globe. The FNIH organizes and administers research projects; supports education and training of new researchers; organizes educational events and symposia; and administers a series of funds supporting a wide range of health issues. Established by Congress in 1990, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about the FNIH, please visit

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