OSLO, NORWAY, March 10, 2020 – CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, today announced the expansion of its COVID-19 vaccine portfolio. CEPI will be investing a further $4.4 million in partnering agreements with Novavax, Inc. and The University of Oxford to rapidly develop vaccine candidates against COVID-19. This brings CEPI’s total investment in COVID-19 vaccine R&D to $23.7 million.
CEPI will provide initial funding to Novavax to enable preparations for phase 1 trials. Funding for The University of Oxford project will support the manufacture of vaccine materials required for preclinical and phase 1 testing. Earlier this year, CEPI announced initial funding to Curevac Inc., Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., Moderna, Inc., and University of Queensland to develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates using innovative platform technologies.
The investments announced today are a result of a recent global call for proposals that CEPI issued in early February, which invited funding applications for proven vaccine technology that could be used to rapidly develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus, and most importantly at scale and with the necessary equitable access provisions.
“COVID-19 is having huge impact on individuals, societies, and economies. CEPI is working at speed to develop a vaccine, which will be crucial in the world’s efforts to tackle this virus. CEPI has so far invested in the development of 6 vaccine candidates against COVID-19.
“We’ve created a diverse portfolio of candidates based on a wide range of vaccine technologies—including novel platforms technologies and other more established approaches—to ensure that we have multiple shots on goal and a balanced portfolio. Vaccine development is complex and difficult and will require concerted global effort. There are no guarantees of success, but we are working as fast and as hard as we can with the hope of delivering safe and effective vaccines that may be available for broader use potentially within the next 12-18 months.
“Investing in vaccine development now is an investment in the future health of all our societies. An urgent, global, concerted effort is now needed to raise the money required to advance the development of COVID-19 vaccines.”
Dr. Richard Hatchett
Chief Executive Officer, CEPI
Novavax, Inc. (recombinant protein nanoparticle technology)
Novavax has produced and is currently assessing multiple nanoparticle vaccine candidates to identify the best candidate(s) for human testing, which is expected to begin by the end of spring 2020. Novavax is creating COVID-19 vaccine candidates using its proprietary recombinant protein nanoparticle technology platform to generate antigens derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein. Novavax expects to use its proprietary Matrix-M™ adjuvant with its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to enhance immune responses. Novavax has experience in rapid innovative vaccine development against novel emerging viruses, including efforts to develop vaccines against the similar coronaviruses Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
The University of Oxford (ChAdOx1 vectored vaccine)
ChAdOx1 is a replication-deficient simian adenoviral vaccine vector. This vaccine platform has been used to produce vaccine candidates against multiple pathogens, including Influenza, Chikungunya, and Zika. In 2018, CEPI provided up to $19 million to Oxford to develop vaccines against Lassa, Nipah, and MERS. Oxford’s ChAdOx1 MERS candidate has completed phase 1 studies and a second clinical study is underway in Saudi Arabia.
Without immediate additional financial contributions the vaccine programmes we have begun will not be able to progress and ultimately will not deliver the vaccines that the world needs.
Join our coalition and help us create a future in which epidemics are no longer a threat to humanity.
CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. CEPI has reached over US$750 million of its $1 billion funding target. CEPI’s priority diseases include Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever and Chikungunya virus. CEPI also invests in platform technologies that can be used for rapid vaccine and immunoprophylactic development against unknown pathogens (ie, Disease X). To date, CEPI has committed to investing nearly $480 million in vaccine and platform development.
CEPI’s work on COVID-19
The rapid global spread and unique epidemiological characteristics of the novel coronavirus is deeply concerning. CEPI has moved with great urgency and in coordination with WHO, who is leading the development of a coordinated international response. So far, we have initiated 6 partnerships to improve our understanding and to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The programmes will leverage rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI as well as new partnerships. The aim is to advance COVID-19 vaccine candidates into clinical testing as quickly as possible.
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About Novavax Inc.
Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq:NVAX), is a late-stage biotechnology company that promotes improved health globally through the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. NanoFlu™, its quadrivalent influenza nanoparticle vaccine, is currently in a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial to address key factors that can lead to the poor effectiveness of currently approved flu vaccines. ResVax™, its RSV vaccine for infants via maternal immunization, is the only vaccine to demonstrate efficacy in a Phase 3 clinical trial. Novavax recently initiated development of a vaccine program against COVID-19. Novavax is a leading innovator of recombinant vaccines; its proprietary recombinant technology platform combines the power and speed of genetic engineering to efficiently produce a new class of highly immunogenic nanoparticles addressing urgent global health needs.
About The University of Oxford
Oxford University has been placed number 1 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the third year running, and at the heart of this success is our ground-breaking research and innovation.
Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Our work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a huge network of partnerships and collaborations. The breadth and interdisciplinary nature of our research sparks imaginative and inventive insights and solutions.
Through its research commercialisation arm, Oxford University Innovation, Oxford is the highest university patent filer in the UK and is ranked first in the UK for university spinouts, having created more than 170 new companies since 1988. Over a third of these companies have been created in the past three years.
Rachel Grant, Director of Communications and Advocacy, CEPI
Mario Christodoulou, Communications and Advocacy Manager, CEPI
Tel: +44 (0) 7979300222
Jodie Rogers, Communications Officer, CEPI
Tel: +44(0)79 793 57 459
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