CEPI will provide funding of up to $90 million to support the development of vaccine candidates which is based on BioNTech’s mRNA technology.

The agency did not choose to target the shots at specific high-risk populations as some experts have suggested, and other countries have recommended. The shots are part of a push by public health officials to align the next COVID vaccines more closely with the actual circulating variant of the virus, much as annual flu shots are designed.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel is due on Tuesday to recommend whether the updated COVID-19 shots formulated by vaccine manufacturers should be given broadly or just to specific populations at higher risk during this fall’s vaccination campaign.

Pfizer and Moderna said their updated vaccines, which target the XBB.1.5 subvariant of the virus, were expected to be available for most people in the United States in the coming days. The FDA approved those shots for people ages 12 and above, and authorized them for emergency use in children ages 6 months through 11 years.

The UK drug regulator said on Tuesday it has approved an updated COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech that targets only the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant.

BioNTech’s licensed antibody-drug conjugate is moving on to Phase III testing in a potential effort to challenge AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s blockbuster Enhertu in a heavily treated breast cancer subpopulation. DualityBio, BioNTech’s partner and the ADC’s creator, posted the trial plans Wednesday. 

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech on Monday asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reconsider, and ultimately invalidate, Moderna’s patents over core technologies of the COVID-19 vaccine, Reuters reported.

A panel of independent advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will meet next month to make recommendations on updated COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the fall season, according to a U.S. government website on Friday.

Novavax Inc. said on Tuesday its updated protein-based COVID-19 vaccine generated an immune response against emerging forms of coronavirus such as the “Eris” subvariant in small studies in animals.

As the public’s interest in COVID-19 products continues to wane and the autoimmune medicine Humira settles into life without exclusivity, the anti-cancer agent Keytruda is set to rule the drug marketplace for years to come.