CEPI commits up to $80 million to support design, manufacture and vaccination strategies for globally accessible vaccines against outbreak pathogens including Disease X.
Partnership will harness University of Oxford’s world-class vaccinology, manufacturing and trial expertise, with a demonstrated successful track record of swift response to outbreaks utilizing rapid response vaccine technology, to advance CEPI’s pandemic preparedness goals.
Prototype vaccines based on University of Oxford’s ChAdOx technology and other rapid response vaccine platforms can be adapted to tackle outbreak pathogens with pandemic potential in as little as 100 days.
29 August 2023; OSLO, Norway and OXFORD, UK: The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the University of Oxford have entered into a strategic partnership to accelerate the development of safe, effective and globally accessible vaccines against ‘Disease X’: the threat of unknown pathogens with the potential to cause pandemics. Up to US$80 million of CEPI funding will support the University of Oxford’s world-leading team of vaccine scientists to develop prototype vaccines against high-risk viral families which could be swiftly adapted if a new viral threat is identified. This would pave the way for the development of new vaccines, based on Oxford’s ChAdOx technology and other rapid response vaccine platforms, within just 100 days of a virus with pandemic potential emerging.
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said:
“CEPI’s strategic partnership with the University of Oxford will make a vital contribution to our work to drive forward the 100 Days Mission. Through this partnership, CEPI will benefit from the expertise of Oxford’s world class team of vaccine scientists, and the institution’s steadfast commitment to global equitable access, as we prepare for future pandemic threats. Crucially, the partnership enables CEPI to deploy Oxford’s ChAdOx technology – one of only a handful of proven rapid response vaccine platforms in the world – to build vital components of the Global Vaccine Library which could dramatically accelerate the development of new vaccines to face down the next Disease X.”
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) and investigator at the Pandemic Sciences Institute, Oxford, said:
“This is a ground-breaking commitment from CEPI to provide momentum that will drive the critical research that we need to be better prepared for future pandemics. Building on our extensive experience in vaccine development over the past 30 years and world-leading response to COVID-19 with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, we will strive with CEPI to secure the safety of future generations against the ongoing threats from the microbial world.”
An outbreak of a future Disease X is inevitable. Forces such as globalization, urbanization, and climate change are increasing the likelihood and frequency of infectious disease outbreaks, but that inevitability does not mean the world is destined to relive the devastating impacts of COVID-19. The scientific advances forged in response to the pandemic have equipped the world with the tools and concepts that would enable us to interrupt outbreaks in the future before they spiral out of control. Building on these advances, CEPI is at the forefront of global efforts to develop vaccines against the next Disease X in 100 days: known as the 100 Days Mission, this goal has been embraced by the G7, G20 and industry leaders.
Key to the success of the 100 Days Mission are rapid response vaccine technology platforms – some of which were clinically validated for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic – that can be used to design vaccines in a matter of days. ChAdOx is one of only a handful of these technologies with proven capability as a platform on which safe and effective vaccines can be quickly developed and manufactured at scale and low cost. The ChAdOx platform was the basis for Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine which became one of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines in the world, saving over 6 million1 lives in the first year of its rollout.
Professor Teresa Lambe, Calleva Head of Vaccine Immunology and a Professor of Vaccinology & Immunology based in the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) and investigator at the Pandemic Sciences Institute and at the University of Oxford, said:
“The University of Oxford’s team at OVG and the Jenner Institute were able to develop a COVID-19 vaccine with unprecedented speed, in part because of their prior work to develop a vaccine against MERS – a closely related virus from the coronavirus family”.
CEPI and the University of Oxford aim to replicate this approach for pathogens from other viral families most likely to cause a future pandemic, by creating prototype vaccines based on ChAdOx and other rapid response platforms, which will be advanced through preclinical and early clinical testing. These prototype vaccines will be key components of the Global Vaccine Library: a repository of knowledge, data and resources which can be pulled ‘off the shelf’ by researchers next time Disease X strikes and used to dramatically accelerate the development of life-saving vaccines.
The collaboration will also support additional activities which CEPI’s analysis has identified as critical to the success of the 100 Days Mission. University of Oxford scientists will explore ways of helping to optimize the manufacturing process for the ChAdOx platform, so vaccines can be rolled out more quickly during an outbreak. The partnership will also support Oxford’s existing network of clinical trial sites around the world, through training and regulatory guidance, so that sites are ready to swiftly test vaccines close to the source of an outbreak, wherever that may be.
The University of Oxford will also work with local partners on community engagement and social science activities in communities that are affected by pathogens relevant to the partnership, to help address vaccine confidence and develop immunization strategies when vaccines become available.
Enabling equitable access
CEPI and the University of Oxford are committed to enabling equitable access to the outputs of this partnership in line with CEPI’s Equitable Access Policy so that vaccines are first available to populations when and where they are needed to end an outbreak or curtail an epidemic or pandemic, regardless of ability to pay. In the event of an outbreak, CEPI will facilitate technology transfer of any vaccines developed as a result of this collaboration to one or more manufacturers for dedicated supply, at affordable pricing.
Global Vaccine Library key to pandemic preparedness
Preparation of prototype vaccines through pre-clinical and clinical testing before an outbreak of a novel pathogen will streamline the development of future vaccine candidates against Disease X, potentially within 100 days of identification.
Achieving the 100 Days Mission would give the world a fighting chance of stopping the next pandemic-causing Disease X in its tracks. A critical enabler of the 100 Days Mission is the establishment of a Global Vaccine Library: a globally accessible store of scientific knowledge, data and prototype rapid-response vaccine candidates against selected viruses from the 25 viral families known to infect humans. Components in the Global Vaccine Library can be swiftly utilized if a novel pathogen with pandemic potential emerges, significantly accelerating the vaccine development process.
CEPI and the University of Oxford
The strategic partnership builds upon existing collaborations between CEPI and Oxford including ongoing projects to develop vaccines against CEPI priority pathogens Lassa, MERS and Nipah virus, and CEPI’s support for Oxford and AstraZeneca to facilitate the development, manufacturing and clinical testing of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine.
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/.
About University of Oxford
Oxford University has been placed number 1 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the seventh year running, and number 2 in the QS World Rankings 2022. At the heart of this success are the twin-pillars of our ground-breaking research and innovation and our distinctive educational offer.
Oxford is world-famous for research and teaching excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Our work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a huge network of partnerships and collaborations. The breadth and interdisciplinary nature of our research alongside our personalised approach to teaching sparks imaginative and inventive insights and solutions.
Through its research commercialisation arm, Oxford University Innovation, Oxford is the highest university patent filer in the UK and is ranked first in the UK for university spinouts, having created more than 200 new companies since 1988. Over a third of these companies have been created in the past three years. The university is a catalyst for prosperity in Oxfordshire and the United Kingdom, contributing £15.7 billion to the UK economy in 2018/19, and supports more than 28,000 full time jobs.
The Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) conducts studies of new and improved vaccines for children and adults and is based in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Oxford. The group is led by Professor Andrew J Pollard.
OVG was founded in 1994 by Professor E. Richard Moxon. The multidisciplinary group, led by Professor Pollard since 2001, includes consultants in vaccinology, a Director of Clinical Trials, a Senior Clinical Trials Manager, adult and paediatric clinical research fellows, adult and paediatric research nurses, project managers, statisticians, QA manager, Clinical Trials IT and Development Lead, and an administration team. Our team also includes post-doctoral scientists, research assistants and DPhil students and we work together with professionals from a range of specialities such as immunologists, microbiologists, epidemiologists, health communicators, and a sociologist, a community paediatrician, the local Health Protection team and a bioethicist.
+44 7387 055214
University of Oxford
Dr. Adriaan Louis Taljaard
Manager Strategic Communications (Vaccines)
University of Oxford
Website: www.ox.ac.uk Twitter: @UniofOxford