US-based Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has partnered with Regeneron on the Covid-19 monoclonal antibody vaccine clinical development programme.

A part of the US Government’s Strategic Preparedness and Response division, BARDA has entered the partnership as part of Project NextGen. The project plans to leverage public-private partnerships to develop vaccines and therapies for Covid-19 SARS-CoV-2 and other future strains.

There has been an increased demand for Covid-19 vaccines that target the new variants, specifically Omicron, after the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) decision to seek SARS-CoV-2 XBB 1.5 Omicron subvariant Covid-19 vaccines.

As per the current agreement, Regeneron will independently invent an antibody candidate for Covid-19. Following this, both parties will evaluate the further development of the candidate. BARDA will then fund up to $326m for the vaccine development.

In a press release, Regeneron CEO Leonard S Schleifer said: “Although Covid-19 has moved to an endemic stage, many people – including those with immunocompromising conditions – continue to face exposure that impacts their everyday life and could cause serious health consequences.

“American biopharmaceutical companies developed remarkable Covid-19 therapeutics and vaccines in record time, successfully changing the course of the pandemic, and we’re gratified that the US Government continues to support early research from this uniquely innovative industry.”

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The current partnership expands on the previous $450m agreement between BARDA and Regeneron to supply the Covid-19 vaccine.

BARDA also has a collaboration agreement with Regeneron to develop a portfolio of antibodies to target ten public-risk-causing pathogens, including influenza. Recently, BARDA ordered smallpox and mpox vaccines from Bavarian Nordic as part of its preparedness response.