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Sunday, January 29th, 2023

CEPI, SK bioscience collaboration seeks to address rapid Disease X response

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Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and SK bioscience personnel are touting a collaboration to facilitate rapid response to unknown pathogens with epidemic and pandemic potential or Disease X.

The partnership agreement, in which CEPI is slated to provide up to $40 million in initial funding to support the development of mRNA-vaccine candidates against Lassa Fever virus and Japanese Encephalitis virus, serves as the first such agreement detailed under CEPI’s call for proposals launched in January 2022.

“When the next pandemic virus emerges, we will be racing against the clock,” Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEPI chief executive officer, said. “And we are racing against the clock now because we don’t know when the next pandemic virus will emerge. The fact that we have just had a pandemic does not reduce our future risk at all. South Korea’s world-leading life-sciences industry can and must continue to play a pivotal role in strengthening global health security and help to create a future free of pandemics. Key to making this future a reality is the ability to rapidly respond to the next Disease X with new vaccines and other countermeasures—in just 100 days.”

Hatchett said CEPI’s expanded partnership with SK bioscience would aid in starting the world’s efforts to validate mRNA platform technologies to create a library of vaccines ready for use against the next Disease X.

CEPI has invested up to $300 million in partnerships with SK bioscience to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, a COVID-19 variant-proof vaccine, a protective Betacoronavirus vaccine, and mRNA-based vaccine technologies.

“Based on cooperation with global initiatives, including CEPI, we will achieve innovative vaccine development and ultimately contribute to promoting global public health,” SK Discovery Vice Chairman Chang Won Chey said.