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 million2 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.
Prof Dr Barbro Melgert (GRIAC and Department of Molecular Pharmacology at the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy) and Prof Dr Anke Huckriede (Department of Medical Microbiology & Infection Prevention of the UMCG) will jointly participate in the Inno4Vac project and investigate the applicability of in vitro lung models to study the effectiveness of vaccine-induced immune responses in preventing respiratory virus infections.
Four main areas are 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.
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.
Quick facts about Inno4vac:
Start Date: 01/09/2021
End Date: 28/02/2027
Coordinator: European Vaccine Initiative (EVI)
This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 101007799. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA.
This communication reflects the author´s view and neither IMI nor the European Union, EFPIA, or any Associated Partners are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.
European Vaccine Initiative - Coordinator
EVI Communication Team
Dr. Hilde Depraetere (Project Lead)
Dr. Donata Medaglini, SVA
Dr. Yannick Vanloubbeeck, GSK
Dr. Martina Ochs, SP
European Vaccine Initiative, DE
Sclavo Vaccines Association, IT
2-control ApS, DK
Stichting Centre for Human Drug Research, NL
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, DE
Enpicom BV, NL
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, DE
Helmholtz Center for Infection Research GmbH, DE
Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine London, UK
Insilico Biotechnology AG, DE
Instituto de Engenhariade Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciencia, PT
Association Internationales de Standardisation Biologique pour L´Europe, FR
Leiden University Medical Center, NL
Centre for Human Drug ResearchLunds Universitet, Department of Chemical Engineering, SE
Meyer Chroma Technology APS, DK
National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, UK
Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, NL
Pharmalex Belgium, BE
Technical University of Denmark, DK
Nova ID FCT – Associação para a Inovação e Desenvolvimento de FCT, PT
University College London, UK
Universitätsklinikum Jena, DE
Klinikum der Universität zu Köln, DE
University Medical Center Groningen, NL
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, NL
Universitetet I Bergen, NO
Goeteborgs Universitet, SE
The University of Nottingham, UK
Universitetet I Oslo, NO
The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford, UK
Universita Degli Studi di Siena, IT
Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, DE
Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, DE
Universiteit Utrecht, NL
Viroclinics Biosciences BV, NL
VisMederi SRL, IT
GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals SA, BE
Sanofi Pasteur SA, FR
Takeda Pharmaceuticals International AG, CH
CureVac AG, DE
1 Duclos, P., Okwo-Bele, J. M., Gacic-Dobo, M., & Cherian, T. (2009). Global immunization: status, progress, challenges and future. BMC international health and human rights, 9 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S2.
https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-698X-9-S1-S2 via https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/vaccines-the-powerful-innovations-bringing-who-s-mission-to-life-every-day
2 Douglas, R. G., & Samant, V. B. (2018). The Vaccine Industry. Plotkin's Vaccines, 41–50.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-35761-6.00004-3