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CureVac and MD Anderson Cancer Center partner to develop new cancer vaccines

April 20, 2024
Life sciences

CureVac and the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Cancer Center have announced a co-development and licensing agreement to develop novel messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)-based cancer vaccines.

The strategic collaboration will focus on the development of differentiated cancer vaccine candidates in selected haematological and solid tumour indications with high unmet medical needs.

Solid tumour cancer, such as sarcoma, carcinoma and lymphoma, is characterised by an abnormal mass of tissue that usually does not contain cysts or liquid areas.

Haematologic cancer, otherwise known as blood cancer, including leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, begins in blood-forming tissues such as the bone marrow or in the cells of the immune system.

Under the terms of the agreement, MD Anderson will be responsible for conducting phase 1/2 studies of the selected promising validated cancer vaccine candidates and the completion of investigational new drug approvals in certain clinical indications, while also being eligible for certain downstream payments based on potential future commercialisation.

CureVac will gain worldwide exclusive rights to late-stage development, commercialisation or partnering of the cancer vaccine candidates.

The agreement will utilise CureVac’s end-to-end cancer antigen discovery capabilities, mRNA design and manufacturing, and MD Anderson’s expertise in cancer antigen discovery and validation, translational drug development and clinical research, including its Evolution of Cancer, Leukaemia and Immunity Post Stem cEll transplant (ECLIPSE) platform, to contribute to the identification of differentiated cancer antigens based on whole genome sequencing, along with long- and short-read RNA sequencing, and bioinformatics.

Dr Alexander Zehnder, chief executive officer, CureVac, commented: “In combining our respective expertise, we believe we can go further and faster to develop novel, off-the-shelf, mRNA-based cancer vaccines that have the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes.”

Jeffrey Molldrem, chair, haematopoietic biology and malignancy, MD Anderson, said: “Together with CureVac, we hope to embrace this exciting area of drug discovery and development in pursuit of mRNA vaccines that will address significant unmet medical needs.”

by Jen Brogan


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