Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations

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Group.png Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations  
(Pharma LobbyTwitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Cepi.jpg
AbbreviationCEPI
Leaders• Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations/CEO
• Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations/Chair
Interestsvaccines, Pandemic/Preparation
SubpageCoalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations/Board
Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations/CEO
Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations/Chair

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a foundation launched with a key goal of reducing the time to develop vaccines from 10 years to less than 12 months[1].

It is funded mostly by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and NATO governments, and led by Richard J. Hatchett, former United States Homeland Security Council member under George W. Bush. Its scientific advisory committee has executives from Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical, among others.

"CEPI solves what economists call a 'coordination problem'. It can help pair boutique research and development companies with big vaccine manufacturers, work with regulators to streamline approval processes and resolve patent disputes on the spot."[2] (i.e. vaccines rushed through and insufficiently tested).

Official History

The concept for CEPI was outlined in Establishing a Global Vaccine-Development Fund, a July 2015 paper in The New England Journal of Medicine, co-authored by British medical researcher Jeremy Farrar (a director of Wellcome Trust), American physician Stanley A. Plotkin (co-discoverer of the Rubella vaccine), and American expert in infectious diseases Adel Mahmoud (developer of the HPV vaccine and rotavirus vaccine).

Their concept was further expanded at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, where it was discussed as a solution to the problems encountered in developing and distributing a vaccine for the Western African Ebola virus epidemic. Co-founder and funder, Bill Gates said: "The market is not going to solve this problem because epidemics do not come along very often — and when they do you are not allowed to charge some huge premium price for the tools involved". CEPI's creation was also supported and co-funded by the pharmaceutical industry including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), with CEO Sir Andrew Witty explaining at the WEF, "It is super-disruptive when the red phone rings in our vaccine division because of a health emergency. People do not realise that there's no spare capacity in the world's vaccine production system today".

CEPI was formally launched at the 2017 WEF in Davos, with an initial investment of US$460 million by a consortium that included the governments of Norway, Japan, and Germany, the Wellcome Trust, and the Gates Foundation. In a launch interview with the Financial Times (FT), Bill Gates said that a key goal was to reduce the time to develop vaccines from 10 years to less than 12 months.

CEPI's target portfolio was on the WHO's "blueprint priority diseases", that included: MERS-CoV, Nipah virus, Lassa fever virus, and Rift Valley fever virus, as well as Chikungunya virus, and the WHO's Disease X. The Financial Times reported CEPI would "build the scientific and technological infrastructure for developing vaccines quickly against pathogens that emerge from nowhere to cause a global health crisis, such as Sars in 2002/03 and Zika in 2015/16", and fund research papers on the costs and process of vaccine development.[3]

At launch, Norwegian physician John-Arne Røttingen, who led the steering committee for Ebola vaccine trials, served as interim CEO, and CEPI was based at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo.

In April 2017, Richard J. Hatchett, former director of the U.S. government's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), became the full-time CEO. Hatchett was also a member of the United States Homeland Security Council under George W. Bush, and the United States National Security Council, under Barack Obama.[10][17]

In April 2017, CEPI opened an additional office in London, and in October 2017, a further office was opened in Washington D.C.

Funding

At its launch in 2017, CEPI announced five-year financial pledges from its founders that amounted to US$460 million and came from the sovereign governments of Japan (US$125 million), Norway (US$120 million), and Germany (US$10.6 million in 2017 alone, and which later became US$90 million), and from global foundations of the Gates Foundation (US$100 million), and the Wellcome Trust (US$100 million); India was finalising their financial commitment, which was made shortly afterward. A funding target of US$1 billion was set for the first 5 years of operation (i.e. by January 2022).The journal Nature said of the amount raised that: "It is by far the largest vaccine development initiative ever against viruses that are potential epidemic threats".[4]

As part of its funding structure, CEPI has used "vaccine bonds" to "frontload" multi-year sovereign funding pledges. In 2019, the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) issued NOK 600 million in vaccine bonds to front-load the commitment by Norway, through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to CEPI.

In March 2019, the European Commission granted access to CEPI into the EU's Horizon 2020 programme, and a longer-term financial funding programme. CEPI note presentations that the EU's financial commitment amounts to US$200 million, which when added to the seed amount (including the full German commitment), came to US$740 million.

By February 2020, Bloomberg News reported that CEPI had raised a total of US$760 million with additional donations from the governments of Australia, Belgium, Canada, and the U.K.

In March 2020, the UK government pledged £210 million in funding to CEPI to specifically focus on a vaccine for the coronavirus; making Britain CEPI's largest individual donor.


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References

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