CEPI, IDT Partner to Develop MERS Vaccine

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The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and vaccine manufacturer IDT Biologika will collaborate to develop and manufacture a vaccine against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a partnership founded to develop vaccines to prevent epidemics, announced a collaboration with IDT Biologika, a vaccine manufacturer, under which IDT will receive up to $36 million to develop and manufacture a vaccine against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a zoonotic disease spread to humans from dromedary camels.

Under the terms of the agreement, IDT will receive development funding from CEPI for advancing its MERS-CoV vaccine. CEPI will provide $15.7 million to support the first stages of the development, with options to invest up to a total of $36 million over five years to support clinical development, process development, manufacturing, and stockpile of the vaccine. 

All development activities will be performed by the MERS-CoV Vaccine Consortium, which includes IDT, research organization German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Viroscience Department at the Erasmus Medical Center, and clinical research organization CR2O. DZIF includes the clinical and medical sites at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and Clinical Trial Centre North, the Philipps-University Marburg and the Institute for Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses at Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich.

The vaccine candidate under development by the consortium is based on a recombinant modified vaccinia ankara (MVA) vector and was clinically advanced by DZIF to Phase I. IDT developed a proprietary cell substrate for large-scale production of the MVA-based vaccine. According to IDT, the first generation of the MVA-MERS vaccine produced in primary chicken embryo fibroblasts is being assessed in an ongoing clinical trial.


First identified in 2012, MERS-CoV is carried by camels and spread by droplet infection of the airways. Infection can cause respiratory disease including fever and cough that can progress into severe pneumonia. About 35% of reported patients with MERS-CoV have died. IDT reports that no vaccine against MERS-CoV is currently available. 

Source: IDT Biologika