THSTI partners with Panacea Biotec and CEPI to develop broadly protective Betacoronavirus vaccines

24 Feb 2022

In a major development, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) has partnered with Panacea Biotec, a pharmaceutical company and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop broadly protective Betacoronavirus vaccines.

CEPI will partner with THSTI and Panacea Biotec, a research-based biopharmaceutical company and vaccine manufacturer, to develop vaccine candidates that could provide broad protection against SARS-Cov-2 variants and other Betacoronaviruses.

CEPI will provide funding of up to $12.5m to support the development of multi-epitope, nanoparticle-based vaccine candidates and advance the manufacturing process. Through this research programme, THSTI and Panacea Biotec will design and select the lead antigen through proof-of-concept preclinical studies, and undertake initial clinical development through Phase I/II studies as they seek to establish clinical proof of concept for novel vaccine candidates to provide broad protection against MERS, SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.

Novel technology platform

Consortium partners THSTI and Panacea Biotec are using a novel technology platform with highly immunogenic antigens. Data from preclinical studies indicate that the vaccine platform induces both humoral and cellular mediated immune responses.

If the platform is proven to be successful, it could potentially be used to enable rapid development of vaccines against Disease X – unknown pathogens with pandemic potential that have yet to emerge.

Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said:

“Over the past two years, coronaviruses have demonstrated their pandemic potential with devastating effect. SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 - will not be the last coronavirus to infect humans, and there’s nothing to stop the next one being even more deadly or contagious. It’s therefore vital for global health security that we invest now in research to develop vaccines that are broadly protective against variants of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses before they emerge.

“Indian scientists and industry have played a central role in the global fight against COVID-19, so I am proud to work with our Indian partners THSTI, a leading research institution, and Panacea Biotec, a vaccine manufacturer with a proven track record of delivering WHO prequalified vaccines, to advance our mission to develop globally accessible vaccines with the potential to prevent the next pandemic.”

Prof Pramod Kumar Garg, Executive Director of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, said:

“We are excited to be awarded this prestigious grant from CEPI. We are looking forward for fruitful academia-industry collaboration with Panacea Biotec in bringing out a vaccine product for global public health. We are hopeful that this collaboration will further enhance our capabilities to develop a robust platform and pipeline for development of products against other infectious diseases.”

Dr. Rajesh Jain, Managing Director, Panacea Biotec, said:

“We are honoured to collaborate with CEPI and THSTI for development of a betacoronavirus vaccine that can provide broad protection against SARS-COV-2 and other coronaviruses. With this collaboration and investment in scientific research, health security, and innovative public-private partnerships, we can achieve a safer and more prepared world.”