Sanofi, CureVac Partner for mRNA VaccinesBy
CureVac, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in TÃ¼bingen, Germany, has announced the execution of an exclusive license agreement with Sanofi Pasteur S.A., the vaccines division of Sanofi, to develop and commercialize an mRNA-based vaccine against an undisclosed pathogen.
In 2011, CureVac and Sanofi Pasteur signed a collaboration and license option agreement for several pre-defined pathogens. CureVac met all pre-agreed milestones and acceptance criteria relating to these agreements, and therefore Sanofi Pasteur exercised its first option and extended and non-exclusive options on all five pathogens.
Under the commercial license agreement, Sanofi Pasteur will fund all research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization activities and will have exclusive worldwide marketing rights for the RNActive vaccine. CureVac will receive an undisclosed upfront payment from Sanofi Pasteur for the option exercise and an additional payment for extending the option term for the other pathogens. In addition, CureVac is eligible for additional milestone payments up to EUR 150.5 million ($205.5 million) for achieving several clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones as well as royalty payments associated with products sales of RNActive vaccines.
The exclusive license agreement for the development and commercialization of an mRNA-based vaccine is also a result of the still ongoing four-year $33.1-million research collaboration of CureVac with Sanofi Pasteur and In-Cell-Art, co-funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as announced in November 2011.
CureVac specializes in RNA-based technology platforms for medical purposes by which RNA is specifically optimized and formulated, which includes mRNA-based cancer immunotherapies and prophylactic vaccines against infectious diseases. the company also develops adjuvants based on non-coding RNAs. CureVac's technology platform focuses on overcoming limitations, such as the instability of single-stranded RNA, including mRNA. By optimizing the molecule, its stability is improved while translation levels are enhanced without changing the amino acid sequence of the corresponding protein, according to the company CureVac only uses naturally occurring nucleotides as building blocks for its mRNA-based products, and the immunogenicity of the molecule is achieved by proprietary formulations.