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Glaxo to invest in Germany's CureVac as partner to develop vaccines

Christian Fernsby |
GlaxoSmithKline said it has signed a collaboration agreement with Germany-based biopharmaceutical company CureVac for the development of up to five mRNA-based vaccines and monoclonal antibodies targeting infectious disease pathogens.

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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, allowing the human immune system to prevent or fight disease, the FTSE 100 pharmaceutical firm explained.

The collaboration will see CureVac's experience in mRNA technology along with its mRNA manufacturing capability combined with Glaxo's scientific expertise in vaccines for development opportunities across a range of infectious disease pathogens.

"GSK's self-amplifying mRNA 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.

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," said Roger Connor, president of GSK Vaccines.

CureVac's existing Covid-19 mRNA and rabies vaccines research programmes are not included in the collaboration, Glaxo noted.

The Brentford, England-headquartered company added that under the collaboration, it will make an equity investment in CureVac of GBP130 million representing close to a 10% stake comprised of an upfront cash payment of GBP104 million and a one-time reimbursable payment of GBP26 million for manufacturing capacity reservation upon certification of CureVac's commercial scale manufacturing facility currently under construction in Germany.

Glaxo will fund research and development activities at CureVac related to the development projects covered by the collaboration, while CureVac will be responsible for the preclinical-and clinical-development through Phase 1 trials.

Under the deal, CureVac will be eligible to receive development and regulatory milestone payments of up to GBP277 million, commercial milestone payments of up to GBP329 million and tiered royalties on product sales.

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