The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has expanded the manufacturing network for its COVID-19 vaccine portfolio.
The nonprofit foundation, which finances independent research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases, has signed vaccine manufacturing agreements with Biofabri in Spain and GC Pharma in the Republic of Korea.
Under the terms of the agreements, Biofabri and GC Pharma will reserve manufacturing capacity exclusively to manufacture drug product of COVID-19 vaccines designated by CEPI. One or more CEPI-supported vaccine candidates will be manufactured at each facility. The vaccines manufactured under these agreements would be distributed through the COVAX Facility, a global initiative that will enable equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all participating countries.
Biofabri will reserve manufacturing capacity for CEPI-designated COVID-19 vaccines from November 2020 to May 2022 with an option to extend. During this period, reserved capacity could produce more than 500m doses of vaccine. GC Pharma will reserve manufacturing capacity for CEPI-designated COVID-19 vaccines from March 2021 to May 2022 with an option to extend. The reserved capacity could produce more than 500m doses of vaccine.
“It is sadly inevitable that demand for COVID-19 vaccines will vastly outstrip supply in the short term, leaving the majority of people unprotected. There is finite global capacity to manufacture vaccines, so we must act now to secure the necessary capacity to produce doses of vaccine which will be made globally accessible through COVAX. With our COVAX partners, our goal is to produce 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021 and distribute them to those who need them most in countries of all income levels: this is the fastest and fairest way of ending the acute phase of the pandemic. Investing in vaccine manufacturing – including reserving production capacity in advance – is crucial for COVAX to ensure fast and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,” Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO at CEPI, said.
CEPI currently is supporting the research and development of nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Eight of them have entered clinical trials. CEPI has raised $1.3 billion in support of COVID-19 vaccine research and development but needs $800 million more to continue to support the development of safe and effective vaccines that will be made globally available through COVAX. CEPI has already secured a supply of glass vials to hold up to 2 billion doses of vaccine.