Brussels, BELGIUM - June, 13 2019
Univercells announced today that it has been awarded a $14.3 million grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase the availability of measles and rubella (M&R) vaccines in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Univercells will adapt the process design of its proprietary NevoLine™ platform to deliver affordable M&R vaccines. This novel manufacturing platform has already proven success with its initial application for Sabin inactivated polio vaccine (sIPV), supported by a $12M Grand Challenges grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Viral infectious diseases, such as measles and rubella, still represent a significant global health burden despite preventability via vaccination. Effective vaccination programs in LMICs are impaired by a substantial gap of affordable vaccines. Conventional vaccine manufacturing requires high capital and operating costs and does not provide a sustainable or cost-effective solution for the future. Univercells will leverage its NevoLine bioproduction platform to sustainably supply measles and rubella vaccines at an affordable cost by minimizing equipment and facility related capital investment together with lower operating costs.
Under the terms of the agreement, Univercells will develop a NevoLine platform for the measles and rubella processes and initiate clinical validation. As part of this project, Univercells’ partner Batavia Biosciences will adapt its highly intensified production process to the M&R vaccines and manufacture GMP material. Univercells will also explore utilizing novel vaccine delivery technologies under evaluation by the foundation. Combining innovations could further reduce costs, facilitate the execution of immunization campaigns and improve accessibility of critical vaccines.
“We are very honored to receive this grant and work once again with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase affordability of the measles-rubella vaccine, another critical vaccine especially in view of the recent outbreaks worldwide”, said Hugues Bultot, CEO and co-founder of Univercells. “We are dedicated to delivering a portfolio of viral vaccines such as inactivated polio, measles and rubella and other undersupplied vaccines to further increase the availability of these life-saving products.”
José Castillo, CTO and co-founder of Univercells added “This second project with the foundation confirms the trust built upon our breakthrough technology. It enables Univercells to demonstrate the potential of our NevoLine manufacturing platform to be a game-changer for global health”.