Partnership aims to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

June 5, 2020 -- The development, manufacture, and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate is the goal of a new partnership that includes the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), CSL, and the University of Queensland.

The vaccine candidate was pioneered by researchers at the University of Queensland. CEPI and CSL will fund the development and manufacture of the university's molecular clamp designed for the vaccine.

A pending phase I safety study is being led by the University of Queensland; subsequent late-stage clinical trials and industrial-scale manufacturing will be led by CEPI and CSL. The organizations are seeking to produce millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses a year if the product is approved.

The molecular clamp vaccine platform was developed at the University of Queensland with funding from CEPI in 2019. The technology locks the unstable, prefusion version of the surface proteins in a form that allows the immune system to respond more effectively. The synthetic protein can be purified and rapidly manufactured into a vaccine.

The initial phase of large-scale production for the vaccine is planned to take place at CSL's manufacturing facilities in Melbourne, Australia. If critical milestones are reached, CSL anticipates that production technology can be scaled to produce up to 100 million doses by the end of 2021. CSL will subcontract other global manufacturers to increase the number of doses that can be produced.

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