(Reuters) - The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) said on Tuesday it will fund the development of the protein-based S-Trimer COVID-19 vaccine candidate by China’s Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc.
CEPI’s total investment in S-Trimer will be up to $328 million, it said in a statement.
The funding will happen through to licensure, including a global phase 2/3 efficacy clinical study beginning before the end of 2020, the statement added.
Oslo, Norway-based CEPI was set up in 2017 to fight emerging epidemics and is backed by 14 governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Britain’s Wellcome Trust.
The extension of CEPI’s partnership with Clover comes months after it invested $66 million to boost the Chinese company’s COVID-19 vaccine trial in July.
The deal between Clover and CEPI anticipates that the vaccine, if proven safe and effective, will be made available for procurement and allocation through the COVAX facility around the world.
The World Health Organization-backed COVAX programme aims to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021. It is co-led by the GAVI vaccines alliance, the WHO and the CEPI.
CEPI has previously deployed vast sums of money in search of a COVID-19 vaccine through partnerships with drug developers including Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc, Moderna Inc, and Novavax Inc.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.
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