GlaxoSmithKline partners with CEPI to make vaccine adjuvant technology available to combat 2019-nCoV

GlaxoSmithKline announced Monday that as part of a collaboration with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), it will make its pandemic vaccine adjuvant platform technology available to speed the development of an effective immunisation against 2019-nCoV. Richard Hatchett, chief executive of CEPI, noted that gaining access to the adjuvant technology is a "huge step forward" in developing a vaccine against the virus.

Thomas Breuer, chief medical officer of GlaxoSmithKline's vaccines unit, said "our adjuvant technology has previously been used successfully in the pandemic [influenza] setting," adding "it enables using only small quantities of the vaccine antigen which allows the production of more doses of the vaccine - a crucial advantage in a pandemic."

GlaxoSmithKline noted that CEPI will coordinate engagements with entities funded by the coalition who are interested in testing their vaccine platform with the drugmaker's adjuvant technology to develop vaccines against 2019-nCoV. The first agreement under this arrangement has been signed between GlaxoSmithKline and the University of Queensland, which is seeking to develop a "molecular clamp" vaccine platform.

Along with the University of Queensland, CEPI's programmes related to 2019-nCoV vaccine development include partnerships with CureVac, Inovio and Moderna, as well as the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Also on Monday, the UK government pledged £20 million ($26.1 million) to CEPI to develop a new vaccine for coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

Hatchett remarked "our hope is that, with our partners, we can get an investigational vaccine from gene sequencing of the pathogen through to clinical testing in 16 weeks." He added "the earliest stage of clinical trials, to establish the safety of investigational vaccines, would take around two to four months."

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