Gates Foundation to Invest $52 Million for Developing and Mfg of CureVac’s mRNA VaccinesBy
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest $52 million in CureVac, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in TÃ¼bingen, Germany and specializing in mRNA-based vaccine technologies. As part of the agreement, the foundation will also provide separate funding for several projects to develop prophylactic vaccines based on CureVac's proprietary messenger RNA (mRNA) platform. In addition, CureVac's longstanding investor dievini Hopp BioTech announced a commitment of $24 million of additional equity.
The investment will support continued development of CureVac's platform technology and the construction of an industrial-scale good manufacturing practice (GMP) production facility. CureVac first established a GMP manufacturing facility for the manufacture of mRNA in 2006. As part of this partnership, CureVac and the Gates Foundation will collaborate on the development and production of numerous vaccines against infectious diseases that disproportionately affect people in the developing world.
CureVac’s technology uses natural and chemically unmodified mRNA as a data carrier to instruct the human body to produce its own proteins capable of fighting a wide range of diseases. Additionally, CureVac's mRNA vaccines are thermostable, which eliminates the demand for cold-chain storage and infrastructure, a major challenge in the vaccine supply of most developing countries.
The Gates Foundation will provide additional funding, beyond the equity investment, for multiple projects developing vaccines for viral, bacterial and parasitic infectious diseases. The foundation has started work with CureVac on initial projects for diseases such as rotavirus and HIV. Under the terms of the agreement, any Gates Foundation-funded products will be made available by CureVac at an affordable price in poor countries. CureVac will be able to merchandise each Gates-funded product in developed countries on its own, through licensees or a combination of both. In addition, the new manufacturing facility will have dedicated capacity to focus on products resulting from Gates Foundation-related projects.
in 2014, CureVac formed a pact potentially worth $600 million ($45 million upfront and potential milestones of $556 million) with Boehringer Ingelheim for an exclusive global license and development collaboration focused on CureVac's CV9202, an investigational therapeutic mRNA vaccine in early clinical development for the treatment of lung cancer.