CEPI announces first funding awards in quest to develop ‘variant-proof’ COVID-19 vaccines

CEPI announces first funding awards in quest to develop ‘variant-proof’ COVID-19 vaccines
OSLO, Norway, 4 November 2021: CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, today announced the first funding awards under its $200m programme to advance the development of vaccines that provide broad protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants and other betacoronaviruses [1]. CEPI will support researchers at two institutions, MigVax Ltd, Israel, and the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), Canada, as they seek to establish preclinical proof of concept for novel vaccines suitable for use in low-and middle-income countries that are broadly protective against COVID-19 variants.

 

Under the first awards made in response to a Call for Proposals issued in March 2021:
– CEPI will provide funding of US$4.3m to MigVax Ltd to support the initial development of a new orally administered subunit vaccine tablet.
-CEPI will provide funding of US$5m to the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization to support the initial development of a new vaccine based on VIDO’s novel protein subunit technology.

Both projects aim to establish preclinical proof of concept for ‘variant-proof’ vaccines that protect against new COVID-19 variants of concern. The vaccine platforms may also be applicable for developing vaccines which are protective against a broad range of betacoronaviruses, as well as other pathogens in the CEPI portfolio, including ‘Disease X’ – unknown pathogens with pandemic potential that have yet to emerge. CEPI’s investments in MigVax Ltd and USask’s VIDO will fund antigen and candidate selection, vaccine formulation, manufacturing process development, and preclinical testing against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.

CEPI is committed to the principle of equitable access to the vaccines it funds. Under the terms of the funding agreements, MigVax Ltd and USask’s VIDO have committed to achieving equitable access to the outputs of these projects, in line with CEPI’s Equitable Access Policy.

[Excerpt]
CEPI’s Policy Regarding Equitable Access
CEPI is committed to achieving equitable access to the outputs of all CEPI-supported programmes
including vaccines, platforms, data, results, and materials.
Equitable access to epidemic vaccines in the context of an outbreak means that appropriate vaccines are first available to populations when and where they are needed to end an outbreak or curtail an epidemic, regardless of ability to pay.
CEPI will facilitate equitable access to epidemic vaccines by:
1. Funding the development of vaccines and maintaining investigational stockpiles, to be used
free of charge when an outbreak occurs
2. Coordinating with others in the global health community to enable licensure of vaccines
funded by CEPI, including by securing resources for pivotal clinical trials
3. Collaborating with others in the global health community to ensure the procurement,
allocation, deployment and administration of licensed vaccines to protect global health, at a
price that does not limit equitable access and is sustainable to the manufacturer
CEPI will also ensure open access to data, results and publications arising from its funding and
facilitate access to materials to accelerate vaccine development.
The commitment to equitable access guides all CEPI investments and funding agreements