CEPI says $2B needed for vaccine development

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Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations CEO Richard Hatchett says the organization urgently needs $2 billion to fund COVID-19 vaccine initiatives.

In a statement, Hatchett said CEPI’s COVID-19 vaccine funding “will be fully allocated by the end of March and 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.”

The Oslo-based public-private partnership has taken a leading role in developing a prophylactic COVID-19 vaccine candidate (see “Latest Actions See Europe at Heart of Global Response to COVID-19”).

If it receives $2 billion, CEPI will immediately allocate $100 million to bring eight vaccine candidates through Phase I testing.

CEPI said it needs $375 million by the end of March to support the manufacturing of clinical trial material for Phase II/III trials for four to six vaccine candidates, to initiate one Phase II trial, and to start investing in expanding global manufacturing capacity.

An additional $400 million will be needed by the end of June to execute Phase II/III trials for at least two vaccine candidates; prepare Phase II/III clinical trials in a number of locations globally; produce additional clinical trial material; and invest in scale-up and technology transfer for up to six vaccine candidates.

CEPI estimates that $400 million will be needed by the end of September to conduct global Phase II/III trials for an additional four vaccine candidates and invest in manufacturing capacity for at least three vaccines.

Another $500-$750 million will be needed in 2021 for manufacturing, clinical trials and regulatory submissions.

The coalition, which launched in 2017 to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics, receives multiyear funding from Norway, the U.K., Germany, Japan, Canada, Ethiopia, Australia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. CEPI has also received investments from Belgium as well as contributions from the European Commission.

Horizon 2020 funding

The European Commission said Friday it had secured an additional €37.5 million ($42.9 million) in emergency funding from the Horizon 2020 program, bringing the total to €47.5 million, for COVID-19 R&D. The EC is negotiating grant agreements for 17 projects to develop prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines, rapid point-of-care diagnostics and treatments already in the pipeline; screen and identify novel small molecule and antibody treatments using modeling and computational techniques; and improve epidemiology and public health measures.

Horizon 2020 will also provide up to €45 million in further research via the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a partnership between the EC and the pharmaceutical industry. The EC expects industry to contribute a similar amount.

Further analysis of the coronavirus crisis can be found at https://www.biocentury.com/coronavirus.

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