CEPI partners with Celestial Therapeutics Inc to develop self-adjuvanting mRNA vaccine platform

Female Research Scientist Uses Micropipette Filling Test Tubes in a Big Modern Laboratory.

13 June 2023, OSLO Norway/Irvine, California, USA: The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Celestial Therapeutics Inc (Celestial) today announced a new partnership which will advance the development of Celestial's ‘self-adjuvanting mRNA' vaccine platform. The partnership will seek to establish preclinical proof of concept for the novel vaccine platform which, if successful, could have substantial advantages over existing mRNA platform technologies.

RNA vaccine technology has made significant advances in recent years, and has been validated for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, saving millions of lives and reducing the morbidity and mortality caused by SARS-CoV-2. As a result, mRNA vaccines are expected to play a crucial role in preventing and controlling future outbreaks and pandemics. However, existing mRNA vaccines are reactogenic, producing fever or local reactions in many recipients, and attributes of the current technology create barriers to equitable access, including due to stringent cold-chain requirements and high production costs relative to other vaccines. Through a Call for Proposals issued in January 2022, CEPI is seeking to advance novel RNA platform technologies that could make RNA vaccines more effective, easier to use, and more accessible in future outbreaks, as well as to expand the application of RNA vaccine platforms to a broader range of virus families. This award is the 2nd to be made under this Call for Proposals.

CEPI will provide seed funding of up to US$0.71 million to advance Celestial's self-adjuvanting mRNA platform technology. CEPI's funding will support the formulation and preclinical evaluation of a prototype vaccine, based on Celestial's novel technology, against Chikungunya - a CEPI priority pathogen which is a member of the Togaviridae family. The project will conduct preclinical safety, immunogenicity and efficacy studies with the aim of generating preclinical proof of concept data that supports the potential advantages offered by Celestial's platform. The self-adjuvanting mRNA platform technology has the potential to offer superior immunogenicity and reduced reactogenicity to existing mRNA vaccines, which could make vaccines based on this platform more effective.

Commitment to equitable access is inscribed in CEPI's DNA. It is core to our vision of a world in which epidemics and pandemics are no longer a threat to humanity. Access to mRNA vaccines can be improved through smart investments to optimise the underlying technology. CEPI funding will evaluate the potential for Celestial's self-adjuvanting mRNA platform technology to reduce the frequency of doses, improving long-term protection, and reducing vaccine-induced side effects which would contribute to equitable access.

Dr Melanie SavilleExecutive Director of Vaccine Research and Development, CEPI

The world needs safer, more effective and more durable mRNA vaccines. We are really excited about partnering with CEPI in this important venture which will allow the development of a new class of mRNA vaccines and will support our mission of making tomorrow safer than today.

Dr. Ajay GuptaPresident, Chairman & CEO of Celestial

Celestial's ‘self-adjuvanting' mRNA vaccine platform

CEPI's funding will evaluate the potential of Celestial's novel mRNA technology to enhance immunogenicity and durability of mRNA vaccines while, at the same time, reducing reactogenicity. Celestial's novel mRNA platform has a built-in adjuvant that can boost immunogenicity in a tunable fashion. The hyperinflammation caused by cationic and ionizable lipids used in the lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulations can be reduced by Celestial's proprietary additive to the LNP formulations, thus, potentially resulting in better mRNA vaccines with fewer side effects.

CEPI's efforts to improve rapid response mRNA technologies form part of the organization's $3.5 billion plan to compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days, a goal known as the 100 Days Mission, which has been backed by leaders of the G7 and G20. Celestial's platform technology has the potential to play a role in meeting this mission by contributing to CEPI's library of prototype vaccines and providing a rapid response technology which could be deployed at speed in case of an outbreak of ‘Disease X' — an unknown pathogen with epidemic or pandemic potential.

Enabling equitable access to vaccines

CEPI is committed to enabling equitable access to the vaccines, products and innovations it supports. Through its agreement to enter into partnership with CEPI, Celestial Therapeutics Inc. has demonstrated its shared commitment to ensuring equitable access to its technology in line with CEPI's Equitable Access Policy. This includes the potential applicability of its technology to future vaccine development of interest to CEPI.



About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organizations, launched in 2017, to develop vaccines against future epidemics. Its mission is to accelerate the development of vaccines and other biologic countermeasures against epidemic and pandemic threats so they can be accessible to all people in need.

Prior to COVID-19, CEPI's work focused on developing vaccines against Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and Chikungunya virus — it has over 20 vaccine candidates against these pathogens in development. CEPI has also invested in new platform technologies for rapid vaccine development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).

CEPI has played a central role in the global response to COVID-19, supporting the development of the world's largest portfolio of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants with a focus on speed, scale and access, as well as co-leading COVAX, the global initiative to deliver fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. CEPI is also the world's leading funder of R&D for broadly protective coronavirus vaccines which could protect against future variants of COVID-19 as well as other coronaviruses with epidemic and pandemic potential.

CEPI has embarked upon an ambitious US$3.5bn five-year plan — called CEPI 2.0 — to dramatically reduce or even eliminate the future risk of pandemics and epidemics. Central to the plan is CEPI's goal — supported by the G7 and G20 — to compress the time taken to develop safe, effective, globally accessible vaccines against new threats to just 100 days. Achieving this ‘100 Days Mission' would give the world a fighting chance of containing a future outbreak before it spreads to become a global pandemic. Read the plan at endpandemics.cepi.net/

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About Celestial Therapeutics

Celestial Therapeutics is developing novel and ground breaking anti-viral/anti-inflammatory therapeutics and mRNA vaccines/therapeutics to treat, prevent and cure infectious diseases, inflammatory conditions and cancers. Celestial's mission is to effectively treat respiratory viral infections & inflammation, cancers, prevent pandemics, save lives, reduce healthcare costs and address unmet medical needs for millions of patients worldwide. Founded in 2019, Celestial has rapidly built a diverse portfolio based on innovative innate immunity platform technologies. Celestial's lead therapeutic, CT-02 is a first-in-class of a new class of broad spectrum anti-infective/anti-inflammatory drugs initially being developed for the treatment of Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Celestial is also developing next generation mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for a variety of indications based on its novel and proprietary mRNA platform. The Celestial team consists of industry veterans and prominent academicians with a proven track record. To learn more, visit https://www.celestialtherapeutics.com

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Leontis Teryazos
SVP Finance

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