(Reuters) -Germany’s BioNTech announced on Monday a partnership with a global coalition for up to $90 million in funding to support the development of mpox vaccine candidates.

BioNTech would initiate an early-to-mid stage trial for the vaccine program BNT166 to prevent mpox, a viral illness that causes skin rashes and could be transmitted to humans through physical contact.

The vaccine candidates are based on the same messenger-RNA (mRNA) technology which has been used in its COVID shots developed with partner Pfizer.

The trial aims to enroll 196 healthy patients with and without prior history of known or suspected smallpox vaccination.

The partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) also aims to contribute to its mission to accelerate development of vaccines to be ready for regulatory authorization and manufacturing at scale within 100 days of recognition of pathogen with pandemic potential.

CEPI is a global partnership between public, private, philanthropic and civil society organizations to develop vaccines against future epidemics.

It usually takes 10-15 years to bring a vaccine to market.

The partnership is part of BioNTech’s strategy to develop vaccines for the prevention of high-medical-need infectious diseases, including those that disproportionally affect lower-income countries, the company said.

(Reporting by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee, Mrigank Dhaniwala and Shilpi Majumdar)

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