New partnership will harness Moderna's mRNA rapid-response platform, clinically validated during the COVID-19 pandemic, to accelerate epidemic and pandemic vaccine development
First project will enable rapid pre-clinical testing of antigen designs for high-risk viral families, to advance global outbreak readiness
CAMBRIDGE, MA / ACCESSWIRE / October 30, 2023 / The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Moderna, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) have entered into a strategic partnership that will harness Moderna's mRNA platform to accelerate the development of vaccines against viral disease outbreaks that threaten global health. The work undertaken as part of this partnership could expand the infectious disease targets for mRNA vaccine technology and strengthen pandemic preparedness and public health efforts in alignment with the 100 Days Mission, a global goal to compress vaccine development timelines to 100 days.
mRNA technology has been identified as a pivotal enabler of the 100 Days Mission due to its flexibility as a rapid-response platform on which new vaccine candidates can be designed and quickly made ready for clinical testing and subsequent scale-up, potentially within days from the moment a new viral threat is identified. Moderna's leading mRNA platform has enabled the development of a highly effective COVID-19 vaccine, which has subsequently been approved by multiple stringent regulatory authorities worldwide.
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said: "Future outbreaks are inevitable, but another pandemic is not. Thanks to the scientific and technological innovations advanced during COVID-19, the world now has the tools and capabilities to prevent the next outbreak from spiraling into a global catastrophe. Chief among them is the now proven mRNA vaccine technology, which can be used to develop safe and effective vaccines with remarkable speed that can be rapidly manufactured at scale. Our partnership with Moderna will harness the company's clinically validated mRNA platform and its world-leading team of scientists to help prepare to respond to future epidemic and pandemic threats in as little as 100 days."
Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said: "We are pleased to announce our strategic partnership with CEPI, harnessing the power of Moderna's mRNA platform to accelerate the development of mRNA vaccines against viral disease outbreaks that pose global public health threats. Our mRNA Access program reinforces our dedication to public health by offering researchers the opportunity to utilize our mRNA technology in the development of vaccines for emerging and neglected infectious diseases. We believe this program can play a key role in helping the next generation of researchers and engineers to advance mRNA science."
Selecting successful pandemic vaccine designs
The partnership will kick off with an initial project to evaluate the performance of novel AI-generated antigen designs and mRNA technology against a range of viral families that carry the greatest risk of causing the next pandemic. Building upon Moderna's existing mRNA Access program, CEPI-funded vaccine researchers will send their cutting-edge computational antigen designs to Moderna, who will rapidly manufacture the related vaccine candidates using Moderna's mRNA platform technology to provide material for preclinical testing funded by CEPI.
The project will enable CEPI-funded researchers to swiftly test multiple antigen designs targeting a specific viral family and quickly identify which, if any, are most promising. It will also generate data on the performance of mRNA vaccine technology against selected viral families and assess the suitability and effectiveness of mRNA for different disease targets. This would contribute vital scientific knowledge to inform further vaccine development targets and could give the world a headstart in response to future emerging outbreaks to advance the 100 Days Mission.
CEPI and Moderna will discuss additional vaccine development projects which fall under the remit of this strategic partnership, with further announcements to follow in due course.
Enabling Equitable Access
CEPI and Moderna are committed to enabling equitable access to the outputs of this strategic partnership. CEPI will retain rights to antigen designs which have been generated using CEPI funding, with CEPI-funded partners committed to submitting their data generated by this project for publication in open-access journals for the benefit of the global scientific community.
Any licensed vaccines developed as a result of this strategic partnership are expected to be made available at affordable prices in low- and middle-income countries.
CEPI and Moderna
CEPI and Moderna first worked together in early 2020, when CEPI provided early catalytic investment of $0.9 million to support the production of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273).
CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017. Its mission is to accelerate the development of vaccines and other biologic countermeasures against epidemic and pandemic threats so they can be accessible to all people in need.
CEPI has supported the development of over 30 vaccine candidates against its priority pathogens-Chikungunya virus, Ebola Virus Disease, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and SARS-CoV-2-and is a leading funder of research into broadly protective coronavirus vaccines, which could protect against future variants of COVID-19 as well as other coronaviruses with epidemic and pandemic potential. The organization has also invested in the development of rapid response platforms to develop vaccines against Disease X (the threat of an unknown virus).
CEPI has overseen a number of scientific breakthroughs, including the first Phase 3 trial of a Chikungunya vaccine and the advancement of the first ever Nipah and Lassa vaccines into Phase 1 trials. The organization played a central role in the global response to COVID-19, supporting the development of one of the world's largest portfolios of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, seven of which have been approved for domestic or global use. It also co-led COVAX, the global initiative to deliver fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, which has delivered approximately 2 billion doses of vaccine to 146 countries around the world.
CEPI's five-year plan for 2022-2026 aims to dramatically reduce or even eliminate the future risk of pandemics and epidemics. Central to the plan is CEPI's goal to compress the time taken to develop safe, effective, globally accessible vaccines against new threats to just 100 days. Achieving this ‘100 Days Mission', which has been embraced by the G7 and G20, would give the world a fighting chance of containing a future outbreak before it can spread to become a global pandemic.
In over 10 years since its inception, Moderna has transformed from a research-stage company advancing programs in the field of messenger RNA (mRNA), to an enterprise with a diverse clinical portfolio of vaccines and therapeutics across seven modalities, a broad intellectual property portfolio and integrated manufacturing facilities that allow for rapid clinical and commercial production at scale. Moderna maintains alliances with a broad range of domestic and overseas government and commercial collaborators, which has allowed for the pursuit of both groundbreaking science and rapid scaling of manufacturing. Most recently, Moderna's capabilities have come together to allow the authorized use and approval of one of the earliest and most effective vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moderna's mRNA platform builds on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, delivery technology and manufacturing, and has allowed the development of therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, cardiovascular diseases and auto-immune diseases. Moderna has been named a top biopharmaceutical employer by Science for the past eight years. To learn more, visit www.modernatx.com.
Moderna forward-looking statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, including regarding: Moderna and CEPI entering a strategic partnership to harness Moderna's mRNA platform to accelerate the development of vaccines against viral disease outbreaks that threaten global health. The forward-looking statements in this press release are neither promises nor guarantees, and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond Moderna's control and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties, and other factors include those other risks and uncertainties described under the heading "Risk Factors" in Moderna's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in subsequent filings made by Moderna with the SEC, which are available on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. Except as required by law, Moderna disclaims any intention or responsibility for updating or revising any forward-looking statements contained in this press release in the event of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements are based on Moderna's current expectations and speak only as of the date of this press release.
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SOURCE: Moderna, Inc.