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GSK and CureVac form mRNA tech collaboration

July 23, 2020
Life sciences

GlaxoSmithKline and CureVac have signed a strategic collaboration agreement for research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of up to five mRNA-based vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting infectious disease pathogens.

mRNA enables protein synthesis in the human body, carrying the genetic code required for cells to manufacture and express proteins. By using mRNA technology in vaccines and medicines, specific proteins, or antigens, can be produced by the body’s own cells, helping the human immune system to fight or prevent disease.

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

Under the terms of the deal, GSK will make an equity investment in CureVac of £130 million, representing close to a 10% stake, an upfront cash payment of £104 million and a one-time reimbursable payment of £26 million for manufacturing capacity reservation, on certification of CureVac’s commercial scale manufacturing facility currently being built in Germany.

CureVac is also eligible to receive development and regulatory milestone payments of up to £277 million, commercial milestone payments of up to £329 million and tiered royalties on product sales.

GSK will fund R&D activities at CureVac related to the development projects covered by the collaboration (which don’t include the latter’s existing COVID-19 mRNA and rabies vaccines research programmes). CureVac will be responsible for the preclinical- and clinical-development through Phase I trials of these projects, after which GSK will be responsible for further development and commercialisation.

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

“GSK’s self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine technology has shown us the potential of mRNA technology to advance the science of vaccine development, and CureVac’s experience complements our own expertise,” said Roger Connor, President GSK Vaccines. “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.”

“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,” noted Dr Franz-Werner Haas, CureVac’s chief executive.

By: Selina McKee

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