The United Kingdom has pledged £10m in funding as part of a commitment to join the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and support its mission of developing new life-saving vaccines to combat emerging infectious diseases and prevent future epidemics. Following outbreaks of Nipah, Lassa and Ebola in 2018 this mission is more important than ever.
This UK commitment was announced today by Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
CEO of CEPI
Richard Hatchett was joined by Paul Stoffels (Vice Chair of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer), Jeremy Farrar (Director, Wellcome Trust), Ryan Morhard (Project Lead, Global Health and Healthcare Industries, World Economic Forum), and Lydia Ogden (Associate Vice-President, Global Enterprise Policy, MSD).
Speaking at the press conference at Davos, Hatchett highlighted how the coalition has continued to grow over the past 2 years.
In 2017, five investors—Norway, Japan, Germany, the BMGF, and Wellcome—provided CEPI’s first contributions. Since that time the European Commission, Australia, Belgium, and Canada have also made contributions, Ethiopia and Rwanda have signed MoUs with CEPI, and the Government of Ethiopia is preparing a financial commitment to CEPI.
Director of the Wellcome Trust
Hatchett also described the growth of CEPI’s vaccine portfolio.
To date, CEPI has nine partnership agreements established, with partners ranging from academic institutions to biotech firms to large multinational corporations. Across these partnerships, CEPI is supporting a portfolio of 17 vaccines.
CEPI has committed over US$ 270 million to develop vaccines against Nipah, Lassa Fever, MERS, and other diseases. In recent weeks, the coalition has expanded the number of priority pathogens to five, issuing our third call for proposals and inviting submissions to develop vaccines against Chikungunya and Rift Valley Fever.
Associate Vice-President, Global Enterprise Policy, MSD
He also discussed our first investments to tackle Disease X – the disease we don’t know about, the emerging infectious disease with the potential to cause a pandemic – through partnerships with Imperial College in London and the University of Queensland in Australia.
Hatchett explained that the platform technologies they are working on have the potential to transform the way in which we develop vaccines. He added that if they work – and early indications are positive – we are looking at reducing the time it takes to develop a vaccine from years to weeks.
Vice Chair of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer
Hatchett closed his remarks by laying out CEPI’s plans for the coming months.
He explained that we will be announcing more partnerships to fight Disease X, Ebola, and other diseases and that we will soon be initiating the first clinical trials of vaccines supported by CEPI.
You can watch the full recording of the press conference below: