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The funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is the Oslo, Norway-based partnership’s largest investment to date.
It will help the company start clinical trials — in which the vaccine is tested in humans — for the vaccine in Australia this month, with Phase I results expected in July.
Novavax is also scaling up to produce up to 100 million vaccine doses by the end of the year, and set up manufacturing for one billion doses in 2021 at sites around the world. The vaccine could be distributed via the World Health Organization-overseen Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
Along with the vaccine candidate itself, Novavax is also developing two additional treatments that stimulate immune responses via antibodies.
“For the last few months, the entire Novavax team has been working nonstop in an ongoing effort to make our vaccine a reality, and we appreciate CEPI’s confidence in our technology platform and our progress,” Novavax CEO Stanley C. Erck said in a statement.
In March, Novavax received $4 million in funding from CEPI, and signed on with Gaithersburg-based Emergent Biosolutions to manufacture the vaccine candidate at its facilities in Baltimore’s Bayview. Along with a funding boost, the new agreement represents a push to get global manufacturing off the ground.
It is among a group of life sciences companies racing to stop a lethal disease for which there is no cure — and one of the life sciences companies in Maryland that could move quickly into the fight.
In other recent vaccine news, Emergent signed a new agreement with Johnson and Johnson to manufacture the life sciences giant’s own vaccine candidate at Bayview.
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