09 May 2023
9 May 2023; OSLO, Norway: The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is seeking to speed up the manufacturing of vaccines as a critical part of its 100 Days Mission – a goal to dramatically accelerate the development and manufacturing of vaccines against a future disease outbreak, potentially preventing a new pandemic. Through its latest Call for Proposals (CfP), CEPI will identify and advance manufacturing innovations and technologies that can accelerate the time required to produce vaccines, so that they can be made more rapidly available for clinical trials and initial emergency use during future outbreaks of diseases with epidemic or pandemic potential.
CEPI is targeting manufacturing innovations that can reduce the time needed to manufacture vaccines by 20%. The Coalition is seeking innovators working on new technologies that target vaccine platform process optimisation, analytical technologies to accelerate drug substance/product batch release and availability of master cell bank/master viral stock, methods to accelerate cell-based manufacturing steps, including synthetic approaches, and any other manufacturing-related innovations that can accelerate vaccine availability.
An estimated US$25 million will be made available to support the innovations over up to 3 years.
Executive Director of Manufacturing and Supply Chain
CEPI’s vision – supported by the G7 and G20 – is for the world to be able to respond to the next Disease X with a new vaccine in just 100 days, known as the 100 Days Mission. Achieving that goal could defuse the threat of a pathogen with pandemic potential, averting the type of catastrophic global public health and socio-economic impacts caused by COVID-19.
For example, if the world had developed a COVID-19 vaccine within 100 days, the first injections might have been given in April 2020, when there were just 2.3 million cases of COVID-19, rather than in December when around 70 million people had already been infected. Faster development and deployment could have saved many of the millions of lives lost so far to COVID-19, prevented trillions of dollars of economic damage and limited or possibly prevented the emergence of some of the challenging variants we see today.
In the “What Will It Take” report, published in November 2022, CEPI identified that optimising and using innovative technologies in the manufacturing processes for rapid production and scaling up of vaccines is a critical enabler of the 100 Days Mission. To achieve this, there is a need to support and invest in novel technological approaches that would significantly reduce the time taken (using current vaccine manufacturing platforms) to manufacture new vaccines. If such innovations can accelerate the availability of clinical trial material for first-in-human trials, vaccines can be distributed more quickly, contributing to outbreak control and limiting the spread of a new disease with epidemic or pandemic potential.
This CfP is part of the CEPI 2.0 strategic goal of harnessing innovative technologies to improve the speed, scale and access of vaccine development and manufacturing in response to epidemics and pandemics. It complements a suite of ongoing CEPI programmes seeking to transform vaccine manufacturing and bring it closer to the location of disease outbreaks. These include a global vaccine manufacturing network to support agile and resilient vaccine production in the Global South; and innovative projects to improve the thermostability of vaccines, thereby increasing access in low-resource settings.
Enabling global equitable access to vaccines is central to CEPI’s work and at the heart of the 100 Days Mission. Innovations that accelerate the speed and scaling up of vaccine manufacturing will make a vital contribution to access when facing a future ‘Disease X’ by reducing the period during which vaccines against new pathogens are in short supply, thereby significantly increasing the prospects for more equitable distribution. Extended periods of scarcity were one of the key drivers of the tragic vaccine inequity that characterised the global response to COVID-19. As such, awardees receiving funding under this Call for Proposals must show a willingness to commit to achieving equitable access to the outputs of the project in accordance with CEPI’s Equitable Access Policy, including ensuring sufficient supply for countries including those in the Global South, rapid production of vaccine volumes incorporating the innovations that are required to meet public health needs, with affordable and sustainable pricing, and potential technology transfer to Global South manufacturers.
Notes to Editors
The new rolling Call seeks to identify manufacturability-related innovations and technologies that can accelerate the time required to make vaccines rapidly available for first-in-human assessment. Focus areas include:
-Platform process development, optimisation, standardisation and acceleration
-Analytical technologies to accelerate drug substance/product batch release and availability of master cell bank/master viral stock
-Methods to accelerate cell-based manufacturing steps, including synthetic approach, and
-Any other manufacturing-related innovations that can accelerate clinical trial material availability.
The new Call is now open for submitting full proposals up until 15 December 2023. Applications will be reviewed at two stages. The first review will be for applications received by 31st July 2023, and the second and final review of applications will begin following the closure of the Call on 15th December, 2023.
Further details and information on how to apply are available on the CEPI website.
CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, 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 Filoviruses, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Betacoronaviruses, 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/.
To read more about how the world can work together to #endpandemics, check out DISEASE X – The 100 Days Mission to End Pandemics, by CEPI’s Chief Scientific Writer Kate Kelland, available here at Bookshop.org. All author proceeds go to the World Health Organization Foundation’s COVID-19 Response.
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