OSLO, Norway and BILTHOVEN, Netherlands– CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Dutch vaccine clinical development and manufacturing organization Intravacc, today announced the latest funding award under CEPI's US$200m program to advance the development of vaccines that provide broad protection against SARS-CoV-2 (including its variants) and other Betacoronaviruses.

CEPI will provide seed funding of up to US$4.8 million to Intravacc – a world leader in translational research and development of preventive and therapeutic vaccines – to advance the development of a broadly protective Betacoronavirus vaccine candidate, which can be delivered intranasally.

CEPI's funding will support preclinical development and testing of Intravacc's subunit vaccine candidate (Avacc 101), which is based on its Outer Membrane Vesicle (OMV) platform.

This technology has the potential to be rapidly adapted to address outbreaks of disease caused by emerging Betacoronavirus strains and variants, and, also to protect against pre-emergent Betacoronaviruses (i.e., before they "spillover" from animals to infect humans). Specifically, the Avacc 101 vaccine candidate will be designed to provide broad protection against SARS-CoV-1, SAR-CoV-2, and MERS-CoV. This platform will enable presentation of universal Spike molecules and will include "epitopes" that can also elicit T-cell responses.

Unlike the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use, this candidate will be delivered intranasally. This method of administration could help to produce the mucosal immunity needed to block viral infection thereby reducing person-to-person transmission.

Enabling equitable access
CEPI is committed to the principle of equitable access to the vaccines it funds. Under the terms of the funding agreement, Intravacc has committed to achieving equitable access to the outputs of this project, in line with CEPI's Equitable Access Policy.

Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI said:
 "The latest waves of Omicron subvariants in the US, UK, Europe and elsewhere show that SARS-CoV-2 still poses a serious threat to a still fragile global recovery. To secure the gains we've made, we must continue to develop vaccines that provide broad protection against these variants to mitigate the need for regular variant boosters, and which can also provide protection against other, more lethal, coronavirus threats including MERS-CoV. Investing in, initiating the development of, and enabling equitable access to broadly protective coronavirus vaccines should be an integral part of the world's long-term strategy out of the COVID-19 pandemic and defence against future threats."

Dr. Jan Groen, CEO Intravacc said:
 "This is the real beginning of a new era for intranasal vaccines. Teaming up with CEPI is a big step forward: from 'best alone', to 'better together' In this way, we can leverage Intravacc's OMV platform for the vaccine the world so desperately needs."