Gritstone to develop COVID-19 variant vaccine with CEPI funding

CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, has entered into a funding agreement with Gritstone bio to advance development of a self-amplifying mRNA vaccine candidate against COVID-19 variants.

CEPI will provide up to $20.6 million to support a phase 1 clinical trial, including manufacturing of clinical trial materials as well as supporting preclinical studies and optimisation of manufacturing processes.

This funding forms part of CEPI’s programme to develop “next-generation” COVID-19 vaccines that are differentiated from those already in advanced development and can be used against COVID-19 variants.

CEPI’s portfolio of “next-generation” vaccines currently includes SK bioscience’s nanoparticle vaccine candidate (GBP510), the University of Hong Kong’s intranasal vaccine candidate, VBI Vaccines’ virus-like particle candidate, and ZerunBio’s recombinant vaccine candidate.

Dr Andrew Allen, co-founder, President and CEO of Gritstone, said: “Our unique approach combines our self-amplifying mRNA platform with a broad set of viral antigens beyond spike intended to drive robust and durable immune responses comprising both neutralising antibodies and CD8+ T cells.

“With this unique antigenic breadth, our CORAL vaccine may offer protection against emerging spike variants of SARS-CoV-2 that appear challenging for first generation vaccines.

“We are honored to be supporting CEPI in their mission to help find new vaccines solutions to battle this deadly virus on a global scale and help prevent current and perhaps future COVID outbreaks.”

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