Public vaccine company Novavax announced today that it will receive up to $388 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) to continue development and manufacturing of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
- The company already received $4 million from CEPI in March to identify and manufacture a vaccine against coronavirus.
- In early April, the company announced that it had identified a vaccine candidate it calls NVX-CoV2373, which it says has already shown success in animal models.
- Novavax’s candidate is a “subunit vaccine,” where just a part of the virus (the spike protein) is injected into the body to create antibodies that can protect against a COVID-19 infection.
- The company plans to start phase one human clinical trials of the vaccine in mid-May and announce preliminary results of the vaccine in July.
- Money from the grant will be used to fund a safety trial this month in Australia and to fund scaling up of the manufacturing infrastructure needed to make 100 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year.
In a press release, CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett said this investment was the organization’s largest ever. “Our vaccine R&D programs are starting to show progress, so it is vital that we invest now to boost manufacturing capacity,” he said.
Novavax is one of many companies working to create a vaccine against COVID-19. While it is going into phase one trials quickly compared to normal vaccine development, it still lags behind some of its competitors. Last week Moderna (which has also received financial support from CEPI) announced that it had received FDA authorization to begin a phase two clinical trial. Pfizer has partnered with German company BioNTech on a vaccine, for which phase one human trials have begun in the U.S.