Boehringer Ingelheim, CureVac Form Immunotherapy Pact

Boehringer Ingelheim and CureVac, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused in mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid)-based drug development, have formed an exclusive global license and development collaboration. The new collaboration focuses on CureVac's CV9202, an investigational therapeutic mRNA vaccine, whic is in early clinical development for treating lung cancer.

Boehringer Ingelheim will start clinical investigation of CV9202 in at least two different lung cancer settings, in combination with afatinib in patients with advanced or metastatic epidermal growth factor (EGFR) mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and in combination with chemo-radiation therapy in patients with unresectable stage III NSCLC. CureVac receives EUR 35 million ($45 million) and can achieve milestone payments of up to EUR 430 million ($553 million).

CureVac's mRNA-based technology is based on using the patient's own immune system to fight the tumor with a specific immune response elicited through the RNActive vaccine. CV9202 is a combination of mRNA molecules coding for six antigens overexpressed in lung cancer, designed to induce an immune response against the tumour. CV9202 and the preceding RNActive cancer vaccine CV9201 tested in initial clinical trials by CureVac demonstrated clinical safety and activity in generating immune responses against all anti-tumour antigens.

CureVac, based in Tübingen, Germany, has successfully completed Phase I/IIa clinical studies with its RNActive cancer vaccines in prostate cancer and NSCLC. Results so far have shown that mRNA-based products showed a favorable safety profile and induced immune responses, including humoral and cellular, helper (both Th1 and Th2) and effector and memory responses. CureVac is currently conducting a number of clinical trials with its RNActive vaccines. A large randomized Phase IIb clinical trial in castrate- resistant prostate cancer with CV9104 was fully enrolled in December 2013. The company also has a collaboration with the Ludwig Cancer Research Institute to enable clinical testing of novel cancer immunotherapy treatment options, and in prophylactic vaccines, the company is partnering with Sanofi Pasteur, In-Cell-Art, DARPA, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim

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