EpiVax is joining Intravacc and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) on a new project to develop universal vaccines for betacoronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.
Under the collaboration, the company will be responsible for the vaccine epitope selection portion using its in silico vaccine design toolkit, iVAX.
EpiVax will work as a subgrantee on the project and will identify cross-reactive beta-coronavirus T cell epitopes for Covid-19, MERS and SARS Class 1 and Class 2 HLA-restricted epitopes, leveraging its iVAX toolkit.
iVAX toolkit includes a suite of immunoinformatics tools that are intended for designing epitope driven vaccines.
Additionally, the company will be responsible for developing several designs as well as validation of the in-silico constructs in vivo with HLA-transgenic mice.
EpiVax CEO/ chief strategy officer Dr Annie De Groot said: “We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to apply our advanced vaccine design tools to a problem of global significance.”
The company stated that the project will receive funding under CEPI’s 2021 call for proposals to expedite the broadly protective coronavirus vaccines development.
CEPI will provide up to $200m for such projects.
Intravacc received $4.8m funding for advancing its subunit vaccine candidate, Avacc 101.
Avacc 101 has been designed for intranasal delivery for providing protective immunity for many betacoronaviruses, such as MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-1, and SARS-CoV-2.
It uses the Outer Membrane Vesicle (OMV) technology of Intravacc for providing vaccine payloads for an effective immune response.
In September this year, EpiVax secured $2m funding from the FDA’s Office of Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) for immunogenicity risk assessment for biosimilar products.