25 Nov 2020
CEPI’s efforts to develop vaccine candidates against a number of diseases with epidemic potential has been supported by a new US $9million (KRW 10bn) funding donation from the Republic of Korea.
The financial contribution, which will help advance CEPI’s R&D programmes developing vaccines against known and unknown global health threats, was announced at a virtual signing ceremony attended by Ambassador Nam, Head of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to Norway, and CEO of CEPI, Dr. Richard Hatchett. The commitment will be made through the Global Disease Eradication Fund of the Republic of Korea, over a three-year period from 2020-2022.
Director-General for Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea
Chief Executive Officer, CEPI
Korea’s funding will support CEPI’s mission to stimulate and accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks. In addition to COVID-19, CEPI’s priority diseases include Lassa Fever, Nipah, Ebola, Chikungunya, Rift Valley fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The financial donation will also further CEPI’s investment in rapid-response platforms to expedite the development of vaccines against novel or as of-yet undiscovered pathogens (known as ‘Disease X’).
Ambassador Nam, Head of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to Norway
Since 2019, CEPI has held a partnering agreement with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), headquartered in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The collaboration has supported the development of an international MERS reference standard alongside a programme to develop a Chikungunya vaccine candidate, led by a consortium of IVI and Bharat Biotech.
CEPI has also moved quickly and in collaboration with partners, including those in the Republic of Korea, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Phase I/II clinical trial to assess CEPI-supported COVID-19 vaccine candidate under development by Inovio, is being run in the Republic of Korea, in partnership with IVI and the Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH). CEPI has also partnered with bioscience facilities SK bioscience and GC Pharma to reserve manufacturing capacities exclusively for one or more CEPI-funded COVID-19 vaccines.
The efforts support CEPI’s goal alongside its COVAX partners, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO), to produce 2 billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021. The Republic of Korea is one of the 187 economies who are part of the COVAX initiative, and has also pledged US $10M funding to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), a financing mechanism that will support 92 low- and middle-income economies’ access to safe and effective vaccines.
CEPI’s partnership and involvement in the Republic of Korea were this month highlighted by CEPI’s CEO, Richard Hatchett, at the 15th Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity – a virtual event held this year under the theme of ‘New Concept for Multilateral Cooperation: Pandemic Security’. A keynote speech was delivered at the opening ceremony of the Forum by Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.