$163 Million mRNA Vaccine Development Collaboration Announced

CureVac RNAoptimizer vaccine development platform optimizes mRNA medicines based on protein design, optimization, and delivery
hand shake over money

A strategic collaboration was announced for the research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of up to 5 messenger RNA (mRNA) based vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting infectious disease pathogens. 

The collaboration between GSK and CureVac, Inc. launched on July 20, 2020, complements GSK’s existing mRNA capabilities with CureVac’s integrated mRNA vaccine development platform.

By using mRNA technology in vaccines and medicines, specific proteins, or antigens, can be produced by the body’s own cells, enabling the human immune system to prevent or fight disease. 

The companies will combine their mRNA expertise on development opportunities across a range of infectious disease pathogens, selected with the potential to best leverage the advantages of this platform technology while addressing the significant unmet medical need and economic burden.

However, CureVac’s existing COVID-19 mRNA vaccine research program, CVnCoV SARS-CoV-2 is reportedly not included in this new agreement.

Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, acting Chief Executive Officer of CureVac, added: “With this collaboration, we are gaining a world-class partner whose expertise and global footprint will allow us to further develop and translate the value of our platform into potential products for the world.”

mRNA technology is a rapidly progressing, cutting-edge platform for the development of new vaccines and medicines, potentially expanding the range of diseases which can be prevented or treated, while also promising to significantly speed up development and manufacturing. mRNA enables protein synthesis in the human body, carrying the genetic code required for cells to manufacture and express proteins.

CureVac’s leadership in mRNA technology, along with its mRNA manufacturing capability, complements GSK's existing scientific leadership in vaccines, including GSK's own self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine technology platform, and further builds on GSK's growing capability in mAbs innovation, aligned to its R&D focus on the science of immunology.

Roger Connor, President GSK Vaccines, said: “Through the application of mRNA technology, including SAM, we hope to be able to develop and scale-up advanced vaccines and therapies to treat and prevent infectious diseases quicker than ever before.”

Under the terms of the deal, GSK will make an equity investment in CureVac of £130m (€150m), representing close to a 10% stake, upon certification of CureVac’s commercial-scale manufacturing facility currently under construction in Germany.

Additionally, GSK will fund R&D activities at CureVac related to the development projects covered by the collaboration. CureVac will be responsible for the preclinical- and clinical development through Phase 1 trials of these projects, after which GSK will be responsible for further development and commercialization. 

CureVac will be responsible for the GMP manufacturing of the product candidates, including for commercialization, and will retain commercialization rights for selected countries for all product candidates.  

GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. 

CureVac is a clinical-stage biotechnology company in the field of messenger RNA technology with 20 years of expertise in developing and optimizing this versatile molecule for medical purposes.

Precision Vaccinations publishes vaccine development news.