• Monday, May 27, 2024
businessday logo


New vaccine to prevent mpox draws $90m investment

A new vaccine being developed to prevent monkeypox (mpox) based on mRNA technology, has drawn a $90 million investment from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

BioNTech, a German biotechnology company announced on Monday that it secured the funding to support the development of the mpox vaccine through a partnership with the coalition.

The firm is expected to initiate an early-to-mid-stage trial for the vaccine program BNT166 to prevent mpox, formerly known as monkeypox.

Mpox is a viral illness that causes skin rashes and could be transmitted to humans through physical contact.

The vaccine candidates are based on the same messenger-RNA (mRNA) technology that has been used in COVID-19 vaccine developed with partner Pfizer.

Read also: FG moves to protect girls from cervical cancer with introduction of HPV vaccines

The trial aims to enroll 196 healthy patients with and without prior known or suspected smallpox vaccination history.

The partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) also aims to contribute to its mission to accelerate the development of vaccines to be ready for regulatory authorisation and manufacturing at scale within 100 days of recognition of pathogens with pandemic potential.

“Mpox can cause severe complications, particularly in children, pregnant women as well as in immunocompromised individuals. The global outbreak, which was declared a public health emergency of international concern, underlines the need for a highly effective, well-tolerated, and accessible mpox vaccine. We initiated our BNT166 programme in May 2022 to help address this need,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and co-founder of BioNTech. “We believe our scientific approach as well as our mRNA technology, have the potential to significantly contribute to deliver on CEPI’s 100 Days Mission.”

“The 100 Days Mission aims to accelerate the development of a vaccine against a novel virus with pandemic potential to just 100 days, and BioNTech’s world-class scientists, technology and facilities can make a vital contribution. Achieving this mission, and potentially preventing the next pandemic, will require gathering a wealth of knowledge and data about the performance of the latest vaccine platforms, like mRNA, which can enable rapid responses to emerging infectious threats across a broad range of viruses,” Richard Hatchett, chief executive officer of CEPI said in an official statement.