Press release

Leaders in human and veterinary medicine unite their expertise in the ZAPI project to help fight emerging infectious diseases

Published on
April 13, 2016

The Zoonoses Anticipation and Preparedness Initiative (ZAPI), part of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) public-private partnership, today announced important progress after one year into a five year collaborative research project, which aims to accelerate the industrial delivery of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies against rapidly spreading infectious diseases. Results generated so far are confirming the initial hypothesis that it should be possible to generate viral vaccines based on small subunits expressed in systems other than the classical mammalian or avian cells.

The ZAPI project is a radical new way to design vaccines for rapid future delivery using a matrix combination of vaccine candidates and expression systems
Jean-Christophe Audonnet, ZAPI coordinator

New infectious diseases, predominantly zoonotic in nature, are emerging at an increasing frequency in Europe and other regions of the world, with potential to profoundly impact public and animal health, and strongly disrupt local and international economies. The ZAPI project focuses on designing a global methodology and technologies for rapid release and manufacturing of vaccines, so as to match the very short timelines which are associated with the spread of infectious diseases.

To date, several project milestones have been achieved ahead of schedule, including consensus on industrial and regulatory processes needed to deliver key vaccines and/or antibodies for a surge capacity; methodology to determine constraints and criteria for industrial scale-up systems selection; progress in Schmallenberg virus models as well as antibody identification. In the coming year, a key ZAPI focus will be to test different combinations of vaccine and antibody candidates and various expression systems, in order to select the limited number of final candidates that will be pursued at larger manufacturing scales in years three to five.

About the Zoonoses Anticipation and Preparedness Initiative (ZAPI)

Launched in March 2015, ZAPI unites 20 public and private partners in human and veterinary medicine who focus on enabling a swift response to major new infectious disease threats in Europe and throughout the world. It is a five-year collaborative partnership. With more than 21 million euros in funding, ZAPI is the first true “One Health” project within the scope of IMI and unites experts in animal health and human health. Read more on

About IMI

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is Europe's largest public-private partnership aiming to improve the drug development process by supporting a more efficient discovery and development of better and safer medicines for patients. IMI supports research projects in the areas of safety and efficacy, knowledge management and education and training. Projects are selected through open calls for proposal. IMI is a Joint Undertaking between the European Union and EFPIA. It was launched in 2008 with the goal of significantly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the drug development process with the longterm aim that the pharmaceutical sector produce more effective and safer innovative medicines.

Now in its second phase (2014-2024), the IMI aims to develop next generation vaccines, medicines and treatments, such as new antibiotics by bringing together companies, universities, public laboratories, innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient groups and regulators in collaborative projects that will pave the way for novel treatments to tackle Europe’s growing health challenges. More on