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The Novo Nordisk Foundation Initiative for Vaccines and Immunity (NIVI)

NIVI aims to develop new or improved vaccines for some of the deadliest respiratory diseases.

Project data

Grant amount
DKK 1.8 billion


Hocine William Mankouri
Senior Scientific Lead, Infectious Diseases

In partnership with the University of Copenhagen, the Novo Nordisk Foundation has established a state-of-the-art research and vaccine development initiative focused on tackling respiratory diseases.  

Research at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Initiative for Vaccines and Immunity (NIVI) will focus initially on tuberculosis, influenza and Group A Streptococcus. NIVI researchers will work towards new fundamental knowledge that can be used to develop vaccine candidates for these diseases that generate broad, robust, long-term immunity in the airways. This is a potentially revolutionary means to block infection and to prevent airborne illnesses spreading between humans. The most promising new vaccine candidates will be taken up to Phase II clinical trials. 

By studying three very different viral and bacterial diseases and developing a range of vaccine platforms, NIVI also aims to advance understanding of systemic and airway immunity more broadly and help prepare the world for future airborne threats. 

NIVI comprises two entities that work closely together. The research arm – the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Vaccines and Immunity (NCVI) – is funded via an eight-year grant and anchored in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen.  

The second entity is the Novo Nordisk Foundation Vaccine Accelerator (NVAC P/S), a limited liability company. NVAC will enable and enhance the work of NCVI by licensing and developing vaccine technologies, preparing vaccine formulations, reagents and assays, and coordinating the external clinical-grade production and clinical testing of promising vaccine candidates. Any revenue generated by NVAC will be reinvested in NIVI. 

NIVI will collaborate with a number of public and private actors, as well as international organisations. A key Danish partner is Statens Serum Institut, which operates under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of the Interior and Health. National and international partnerships with world-leading research teams and experts with similar ambitions will also be established, while NVAC P/S will establish partnerships to ensure that promising new vaccines are accessible and affordable.  

NIVI is being developed in two phases. Phase I (2024-2027) involves staff recruitment, the development of new international partnerships, and the initiation of key research programmes. By Phase II (2028-2031), NIVI will be fully scaled and comprise 150-200 staff members based in Copenhagen.  

NIVI is headed by Nicholas Jackson, who holds a dual role as Executive Director of NCVI and CEO of NVAC.

Read more about NIVI here.

Watch a conversation about NIVI between Novo Nordisk Foundation CEO Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, the Foundation’s head of Infectious Diseases Peter Lawætz Andersen, and head of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, Charlotte Bonefeld:

December 19th, 2023