CEPI has committed up to US$80 million to the University of Oxford for the design and manufacture of globally accessible vaccines against outbreak pathogens, including Disease X.
The new strategic partnership will support the University of Oxford’s world-leading team of vaccine scientists – aligning with and supporting the mission of the Pandemic Sciences Institute – to develop prototype vaccines against high-risk viral families that 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 ChAdOx1 technology and other rapid response vaccine platforms, within just 100 days of a virus with pandemic potential emerging (known as the 100 Days Mission).
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.”
The partnership builds upon existing collaborations between CEPI and Oxford including ongoing projects to develop vaccines against 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.
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.”
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.
ChAdOx1 is one of only a handful of these technologies proven to enable safe and effective vaccines to 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 million lives in the first year of its rollout.
Professor Teresa Lambe, Professor in the Oxford Vaccine Group and Investigator at the Pandemic Sciences Institute, Oxford, said: “The University of Oxford’s team 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 are committed to enabling equitable access to the outputs of this partnership, so that vaccines are first available to populations when and where they are needed, regardless of ability to pay.