A new deal created by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) will use $8.4m to facilitate development of a vaccine platform to fight unknown pathogens. Under the deal, Imperial College London will work to create a self-amplifying RNA vaccine platform, which can then be made to rapidly develop anti-pathogen vaccines.

The platform will first develop vaccines against H1N1, rabies and Marburg as a proof of concept. Following its validation, it is hoped the platform will develop vaccines against new and unknown pathogens.

This is the first investment CEPI has made in such vaccine technologies. Before this it gave millions of dollars to entities including Johnson & Johnson and the University of Oxford to develop vaccines against Lassa fever, MERS and Nipah.

CEPI said it will only retain rights to vaccine candidates against World Health Organization R&D blueprint priority pathogens built using the platform.