CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, announced the expansion of its partnership with Sichuan Clover Biopharmaceuticals, Inc to rapidly advance the development and manufacture of Clover’s protein-based COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine candidate, which is based on Clover’s proprietary Trimer-Tag vaccine technology platform.
CEPI will make an additional investment of $66m upfront in S-Trimer which will immediately fund preclinical studies, the execution of Phase 1 clinical trials, and preparation of sites globally for an efficacy trial. In parallel, this investment will support the scale-up of Clover’s manufacturing capacity to potentially allow the production of hundreds of millions of doses per year. The results of these clinical trials and initial manufacturing scale-up activities will inform planning for efficacy trials and the full manufacture of the vaccine. If the early-stage clinical development is successful, the partnership agreement anticipates CEPI providing significant additional investment which will fully fund the S-Trimer vaccine candidate through to licensure in China and globally.
This agreement builds on CEPI’s initial partnership with Clover, announced in April 2020, which supported the preparations and initiation of Phase 1 clinical trial of the vaccine candidate which began enrolling participants on 19 June 2020.
Clover is exploring development pathways for the S-Trimer vaccine to be made accessible to populations in China and globally if it is proven to be safe and effective. In line with CEPI’s commitment to equitable access, under the terms of the agreement, it is anticipated that vaccine output funded by CEPI’s investment will be procured and allocated through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility. The COVAX Facility aims to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, at all levels of development, that wish to participate.
Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI said: “The expansion of our partnership with Clover is an important step forward in our efforts to develop a safe, effective and globally accessible vaccine against COVID-19. Clover’s S-Trimer is a promising vaccine candidate with the potential to be scaled up to produce hundreds of millions or even one billion doses per year, so it could play a significant role in controlling this pandemic. CEPI’s investment will fund clinical development and initial manufacturing scale-up activities in parallel, with the aim of greatly compressing timelines so that if the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective it can be given to those who most need it as soon as possible.”
Nick Jackson, Head of Programmes and Innovative Technology at CEPI, and the Chief Representative of CEPI’s Shanghai Representative Office said:
“Our collaboration with Clover exemplifies CEPI’s mission in China to seek cooperation in the prevention and control of pandemic diseases, including the funding of public health research projects, research and development of vaccines, and international scientific, technology and development partnerships and exchanges.”
In addition to CEPI’s partnership with Clover, the organization has provided support and funding to develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates to CureVac, Inc., Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Moderna, Inc., Novavax, Inc., The University of Hong Kong, The University of Oxford/ AstraZeneca, The University of Queensland/ CSL and a consortium led by Institut Pasteur.
CEPI recently officially announced that it has opened a Representative Office in Shanghai. Through its Shanghai Representative Office, CEPI is seeking to cooperate broadly in China on COVID-19 vaccine development and build robust collaborations to prevent and control other potential infectious disease outbreaks in the future.