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Clover Bio Raises $66 Million from CEPI for Trimer-Tag COVID-19 Vaccine
Sichuan Clover Bio received a $66 million upfront payment from Oslo's CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) to speed up development of Clover’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The protein-based vaccine is based on Clover’s proprietary Trimer-Tag© vaccine technology platform. Clover will use the funds for Phase I clinical trials, preparation for a global efficacy trial and building manufacturing capacity to produce up to one billion doses per year. In April, CEPI made an initial $3.5 million investment in Clover.
Clover plans to seek approval for the vaccine in China and globally. The Phase I trial of the vaccine, which was partially funded by the first CEPI grant, began enrolling participants on 19 June 2020.
CEPI in committed to equitable access of vaccines. Under the terms of its agreement with Clover, the vaccine output funded by CEPI’s investment will be allocated through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, which plans to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, at all levels of development.
Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI said: “The expansion of our partnership with Clover is an important step forward in our efforts to develop a safe, effective and globally accessibly vaccine against COVID-19. Clover’s S-Trimer is a promising vaccine candidate with the potential to be scaled up to produce hundreds of millions or even one billion doses per year, so it could play a significant role in controlling this pandemic.”
Nick Jackson, Head of Programmes and Innovative Technology at CEPI, and the Chief Representative of CEPI’s Shanghai Representative Office said: “Our collaboration with Clover exemplifies CEPI’s mission in China to seek cooperation in the prevention and control of pandemic diseases, including the funding of public health research projects, research and development of vaccines, and international scientific, technology and development partnerships and exchanges.”
Joshua Liang, CEO of Clover and co-inventor of COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine candidate added: “We are honored to receive CEPI’s continued recognition and support, which follows several months of close collaboration. With CEPI’s additional investment and funding commitment, Clover intends to further accelerate the development of S-Trimer including preparing for a global efficacy trial.”
Dr. Peng Liang, Founder and Chairman of Clover and inventor of Trimer-Tag© technology, said: “Global cross-border collaborations during times like these are crucial for the successful and timely development of safe and effective vaccines which are important to ending this pandemic. As a China headquartered company, Clover is proud to expand our collaboration with CEPI with a clear objective of producing and supplying our S-Trimer vaccine to China and the world.”
Based on its proprietary Trimer-Tag© technology, Clover's S-Trimer candidate is a trimeric SARS-CoV-2 spike (S)-protein subunit vaccine candidate. Similar to other enveloped RNA viruses such as HIV, RSV and Influenza, SARS-CoV-2 is also an RNA virus with a trimeric spike (S) protein on its viral envelope. The trimeric S protein of SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for binding to host cell surface receptor ACE2, blocking viral entry and making it the primary target antigen for vaccine development.
Clover focuses on novel biologic therapies, especially for oncology and autoimmune diseases, as well as viral vaccines. Having raised more than $200 million in total capital since 2016, Clover uses its proprietary Trimer-Tag© technology platform to develop novel biologics targeting trimerization-dependent pathways.