CEPI extends funding call to accelerate development and global manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines

21 Jul 2020

By Jodie Rogers


CEPI has extended its Call for Proposals to advance development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccine candidates
Vaccine developers with end-to-end experience and capability for the global supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses in 12-18 months are encouraged to apply
The new call will look more favourably on vaccine candidates that, based on field experience to date, have indications that their candidate vaccine is able to offer measurable protection after one dose.

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CEPI has today extended its Call for Proposals to support the rapid development of vaccines against COVID-19, in parallel to ensuring that associated manufacturing capabilities and capacities will meet global demand for a vaccine as quickly as possible.

The extended Call aims to accelerate the development of COVID-19 vaccines with the goal of achieving licensure or emergency authorisation, for vaccines shown to be safe and effective, within an accelerated 12-18 month (or less) timeframe. With billions of doses of a successful vaccine needed to end the acute phase of the pandemic, vaccine developers who can rapidly manufacture at-scale and ensure global supply of vaccine doses are particularly encouraged to apply.

CEPI has moved at pace in response to the pandemic and has established the world’s largest and most diverse portfolio of COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Built on the principles of speed, scale and access, the portfolio currently contains nine promising vaccine candidates, with seven already in clinical trials. Through COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the ACT Accelerator launched in partnership with Gavi and the World Health Organization (WHO), our ultimate goal is to provide an end-to-end solution to develop, manufacture and equitably deliver up to 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021, saving millions of lives and transforming the economic prospects of societies around the world.

To achieve this goal, CEPI is expanding and diversifying its portfolio to increase our chances of finding a successful vaccine which can be manufactured at scale. This Call for Proposals—an extension of our second COVID-19 vaccine Call for Proposals issued in May 2020 (for which the review process is ongoing)—is open to all types of vaccine development organisations worldwide and seeks to fund the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development which meet the principles of speed, scale, and access.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis causing unprecedented disruption to human activity. As national and regional governments assess containment measures, only widely available safe and effective vaccines, used in conjunction with other public health measures, will allow a return to normal life and help stop further loss of life and its devastating social and economic impact.

Our extended Call for Proposals aims to bolster CEPI’s COVID-19 vaccine portfolio and increase the number of ‘shots on goal’ through supporting the rapid development and large-scale manufacture of promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates to ensure global demand can be met as quickly as possible.

With our target of 2 billion vaccine doses being made available by the end of 2021, we are particularly interested in hearing from vaccine developers with a proven track record and who can rapidly deliver at scale to help bring an end to the acute phase of this global crisis.

Melanie Saville

Director of Vaccine Development, CEPI

The extended Call is intended to target organisations which seek additional support to expand their COVID-19 vaccine global development plans, having already secured resources for a vaccine candidate for a given COVID-19 target indication or region. In particular, CEPI would like to engage vaccine developers with innovative COVID-19 vaccine technologies that have already or are soon to be proven, and with a track record of bringing vaccine candidates through development, including licensure and manufacturing. As a single-dose vaccine could mean that billions of people around the world can be vaccinated more quickly and easily, while also reducing costs, environmental impact, and potential attrition rates which can occur when patients have to return to a clinic to receive multiple doses of a vaccine, the new Call will more favourably review applications to advance single-dose COVID-19 vaccines.

If successful, CEPI will provide financial support and expertise to such organisations as they conduct large-scale clinical trials, scale-up manufacturing to increase the number of potential doses available and/or scale-out production capacity to widen their geographical manufacturing footprint.

CEPI is committed to the principle of universal, equitable and affordable access to vaccines. CEPI is a co-lead on the vaccine pillar (COVAX) of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and work is ongoing to develop a global mechanism to procure and fairly allocate COVID-19 vaccines (COVAX Facility). Awardees receiving funds through this Call for Proposals will be required to supply and sell vaccines to the COVAX Facility in quantities reflective of the funding received and at fair prices that are sustainable to the manufacturer.

Funding for this Call for Proposals will be provided by CEPI with anticipated support towards the research and development aspects, including clinical trials, from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.

We need efficient treatments and vaccines to eliminate the danger of the coronavirus. That is why we are proud to support CEPI in its endeavour to rapidly develop the most promising vaccine candidates.

Mariya Gabriel

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, European Commission

Costs related to scale up/out of manufacturing will be financed exclusively by CEPI.

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This Call is open until at least 28 September, 2020.
All international companies, companies in the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN), and other vaccine/ biologics developers are encouraged to apply. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis every three weeks.
For further details on the Call and information on how to apply, please click here.