The Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 (IMI2) Joint Undertaking mobilised more than € 33 million to support Inno4vac, an innovative public-private partnership to accelerate vaccine R&D timelines. It will focus on the design and application of new and highly advanced predictive models to allow a faster development and manufacturing of novel vaccines.
Vaccination is one of the most impactful public health interventions in history, saving the lives of an estimated 2.5 million people1 every year and protecting millions more from illness and disability. Classical vaccine research and development timelines remain nevertheless long and costly, as it takes on average more than 10 years and costs more than € 800 million 2 to bring a new vaccine to the market. Leveraging advances in technology and data science will be instrumental in providing new paths to vaccine development as the accelerated development of COVID vaccines demonstrated.
Inno4vac is a new interdisciplinary project funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 (IMI2) that aims to foster health innovation by incorporating scientific and technological breakthrough from the academic and biotech sectors into industry. It is coordinated by the European Vaccine Initiative (Germany), with the support from the Sclavo Vaccines Association (Italy), for the scientific coordination, and involves 41 partners from 11 different European countries, including 37 academic institutions and SMEs, as well as GSK, Sanofi Pasteur, CureVac and Takeda as industry partners.
‘The Inno4Vac project will harness the newest scientific discoveries to speed up vaccine development’, says Dr. Ole Olesen, EVI’s Executive Director. ‘With the visionary support of IMI2 we are looking forward to work with some of the world’s most talented researchers from academia, biotech and industry in applying new technologies that can bring new vaccines faster to the market.’
Four main areas will be addressed by Inno4vac in an integrated manner:
(1) artificial intelligence will be used for in silico vaccine immune response and efficacy prediction;
(2) a modular computational platform will be developed for in silico modelling of vaccine bio-manufacturing and stability testing;
(3) new and improved controlled human infection models (CHIM) of influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Clostridium difficile will be established to enable early vaccine efficacy evaluation, and
(4) novel cell-based human in vitro 3D models will be developed to reliably predict immune protection.
Dr. Hilde Depraetere, Director of Operations at EVI and overall leader of Inno4Vac, comments that “jointly, we have developed an ambitious workplan that will harness the latest advances in immunology, disease modelling and in silico and mathematical modelling in order to accelerate the development of new vaccines.”
The ultimate goal of the combined effort pursued by Inno4vac is to develop more predictive biological and mathematical models of vaccine performance, and thereby to accelerate the development of new vaccines. The design of a sustainability plan will also be carried out by the project partners to ensure the long-term access to the project results, including models, beyond the duration of the Inno4vac project.