CEPI, THSTI and Panacea Biotec partner to develop broadly protective Betacoronavirus vaccines

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OSLO, Norway, NEW DELHI, India; 21 February 2021: CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, today announced the latest award under its $200m programme, launched in March 2021, to advance the development of vaccines that provide broad protection against SARS-Cov-2 variants and other Betacoronaviruses [1]. CEPI will partner with a consortium comprised of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and Panacea Biotec, a research-based biopharmaceutical company and vaccine manufacturer, to develop vaccine candidates that could provide broad protection against SARS-Cov-2 variants and other Betacoronaviruses.

CEPI will provide funding of up to $12.5m to support the development of multi-epitope, nanoparticle-based vaccine candidates and advance the manufacturing process. Through this research programme, THSTI and Panacea Biotec will design and select the lead antigen through proof-of-concept preclinical studies, and undertake initial clinical development through Phase I/II studies as they seek to establish clinical proof of concept for novel vaccine candidates to provide broad protection against MERS, SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.

Novel technology platform

Consortium partners THSTI and Panacea Biotec are using a novel technology platform with highly immunogenic antigens. Data from preclinical studies indicate that the vaccine platform induces both humoral and cellular mediated immune responses.

If the platform is proven to be successful, it could potentially be used to enable rapid development of vaccines against Disease X — unknown pathogens with pandemic potential that have yet to emerge.

Enabling equitable access

CEPI, THSTI and Panacea Biotec are committed to enabling global equitable access to the vaccines developed through this partnership. Under the terms of the funding agreement, THSTI and Panacea Biotec have committed to achieving equitable access to the outputs of this project, in line with CEPI's Equitable Access Policy.

Over the past two years, coronaviruses have demonstrated their pandemic potential with devastating effect. SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 - will not be the last coronavirus to infect humans, and there's nothing to stop the next one being even more deadly or contagious. It's therefore vital for global health security that we invest now in research to develop vaccines that are broadly protective against variants of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses before they emerge.

Indian scientists and industry have played a central role in the global fight against COVID-19, so I am proud to work with our Indian partners THSTI, a leading research institution, and Panacea Biotec, a vaccine manufacturer with a proven track record of delivering WHO prequalified vaccines, to advance our mission to develop globally accessible vaccines with the potential to prevent the next pandemic.

Dr. Richard HatchettChief Executive Officer, CEPI

We are excited to be awarded this prestigious grant from CEPI. We are looking forward for fruitful academia-industry collaboration with Panacea Biotec in bringing out a vaccine product for global public health. We are hopeful that this collaboration will further enhance our capabilities to develop a robust platform and pipeline for development of products against other infectious diseases.

Professor Pramod Kumar GargExecutive Director, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute

We are honoured to collaborate with CEPI and THSTI for development of a betacoronavirus vaccine that can provide broad protection against SARS-COV-2 and other coronaviruses. With this collaboration and investment in scientific research, health security, and innovative public-private partnerships, we can achieve a safer and more prepared world.

Dr Rajesh JainManaging Director, Panacea Biotec

CEPI is accelerating its programme to develop broadly protective coronavirus vaccines—a core part of its $3.5 billion pandemic preparedness plan—in view of the continued threat posed by new SARS-CoV-2 variants like Omicron. This partnership is the sixth to be announced under this programme, and more are expected to be announced shortly.

[1] Betacoronaviruses are types of coronavirus that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which have been responsible for outbreaks in Asia and the Middle East in recent years, and also SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines against future epidemics. 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).

During the current pandemic, CEPI initiated multiple programmes to develop vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants with a focus on speed, scale and access. These programmes leverage the rapid response platforms developed by CEPI's partners prior to the emergence of COVID-19 as well as new collaborations. The aim is to advance clinical development of a diverse portfolio of safe and effective COVID-19 candidates and to enable fair allocation to these vaccines worldwide through COVAX.

CEPI's 5-year plan lays out a $3.5 billion roadmap to compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days, develop a universal vaccine against COVID-19 and other Betacoronaviruses, and create a "library" of vaccine candidates for use against known and unknown pathogens. The plan is available at http://www.endpandemics.cepi.net.

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Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) is an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. Of India. The mission of THSTI is to integrate the fields of medicine, science, engineering, and technology into translational knowledge, and making the biomedical innovations accessible to public health, to improve the health in India and globally. At present, there are four theme- based research programs in the areas of Immunology & Infectious Diseases; Maternal and Child Health; Non-Communicable Diseases; Multi-Disciplinary Clinical and Translational Research. THSTI has core capabilities for basic and translational research. The institute has the required scientific expertise, trained manpower and research resource platforms viz: The BioAssay Laboratory, Biorepository, Small Animal Facility, and Data Management Centre. THSTI has significantly contributed in planning and conducting ‘need of the hour' clinical research during the COVID-19 pandemic and in bringing out several vaccine products in collaboration with industries.

Visit our website: https://thsti.res.in/newthsti/ 

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About Panacea Biotec

Panacea Biotec is an innovation-led biotechnology company that focuses on discovery, development, and commercialisation of Vaccines and Therapeutics to meet unmet patient needs. Panacea Biotec launched the world's first fully liquid Hexavalent vaccine (DTwP-Hib-HepB-IPV), EasySix™ in 2017. Company is also developing a Dengue Vaccine, Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine among other differentiated drug development programs. Panacea Biotec has commercialized its adjuvant, EmulsiPan (emulsion based) through Flu vaccines while its TLR 7/8 agonist adjuvant is in advanced stages of development. Panacea Biotec remains focused on merging cutting-edge science and technology with an unwavering commitment towards unmet medical needs while ensuring affordability. For more information, visit: www.panaceabiotec.com

Follow our news page for the latest updates. Follow us via @PanaceaBiotec and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts


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Dr. Soma Patnaik

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Panacea Biotec


Mr. Devender Gupta

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Mr. P.D. Karan

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