BioNTech SE BNTX and the Norwegian-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, said Monday they are partnering to advance an mRNA-based Mpox vaccine. BioNTech will start a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of the vaccine called BNT166, while CEPI will commit funding if up to $90 million for the program. Mpox, which was formerly called monekypox, is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which causes symptoms including skin rash and mucosal lesions, fever, swollen lymph nodes, head-/muscle ache and sore throat. “Severe forms of the disease can occur particularly in children and immunocompromised individuals as well as during pregnancy, with complications including superinfections of the rash and lesions, pneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, stillbirth and loss of vision following corneal infection,” the two said in a statement. Human-to-human transmission can occurs through physical contact or body fluids, including sexual contact. BioNTech’s stock was up 0.4% premarket but has fallen 25% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 SPX has gained 16%.

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