Coalition CEPI and GSK To Collaborate and Develop Coronavirus Vaccine

By Emily Forster -

February 6, 2020

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a public–private coalition that seeks to derail epidemics by speeding up the development of vaccines, agreed to collaborate on developing a vaccine for coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV. GSK will make its pandemic vaccine adjuvant platform technology available for the development of a vaccine against 2019-nCoV. 

GSK develops vaccines using different adjuvant systems. An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, thereby creating a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone. The use of an adjuvant is of particular importance in a pandemic situation since it can reduce the amount of antigen required per dose, thereby allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and made available to more people.

CEPI will coordinate engagements between GSK and entities funded by CEPI that are interested in testing their vaccine platform with GSK’s adjuvant technology. The first agreement to formalize this arrangement has been signed between GSK and the University of Queensland, Australia, which entered into a partnering agreement with CEPI in January 2019 to develop a “molecular clamp” vaccine platform, intended to enable targeted and rapid vaccine production against multiple viral pathogens. CEPI has extended this funding to work on a 2019-nCoV virus vaccine candidate, and access to the GSK adjuvant technology will now support this early stage research.

CEPI currently has four programs of work relating to 2019-nCoV vaccine development partnering with: CureVac, a German company specializing in therapies based on messenger RNA; Inovio, a US company which offers a technology platform for immunotherapy for infectious diseases and cancer; The University of Queensland; Moderna, a US biotechnology company specializing in messenger RNA; and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. These partnerships seek to improve the scientific understanding of the coronavirus, and to develop vaccines against it. These programs will leverage rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI with the aim of advancing 2019-nCoV vaccine candidates into clinical testing as quickly as possible.

In addition, CEPI launched a new call for proposals in coordination with the World Health Organization to rapidly develop and manufacture already proven vaccine technology that can be used against the new coronavirus. The new rolling call seeks to fund vaccine technologies that can advance an effective vaccine against the 2019-nCoV virus with the aim to develop and test candidates quickly. The call opened February 3, 2020 and will remain open for two weeks until mid-February.

Source: GlaxoSmithKline, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations