GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and CureVac will together research, develop, manufacturer and commercialise up to five mRNA-based vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting infectious disease pathogens.
The strategic collaboration complements GSK’s existing mRNA capabilities with CureVac’s integrated mRNA platform.
mRNA (messenger RNA) technology is a rapidly progressing, cutting-edge platform for the development of new vaccines and medicines, potentially expanding the range of diseases which can be prevented or treated, while also promising to significantly speed up development and manufacturing. 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, enabling the human immune system to prevent or fight disease.
CureVac’s leadership in mRNA technology, along with its mRNA manufacturing capability, complements GSK’s existing scientific leadership in vaccines, including GSK’s own self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine technology platform, and further builds on GSK’s growing capability in mAbs innovation, aligned to its R&D focus on the science of immunology. Advancing mRNA-based vaccine and treatment technologies is also expected to play a role in further improving response against future pandemics.
“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 of 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.”
The companies will combine their mRNA expertise on 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.
CureVac’s existing COVID-19 mRNA and rabies vaccines research programmes are not included in the collaboration announced today.
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, upon certification of CureVac’s commercial scale manufacturing facility currently under construction in Germany.
CureVac will be 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.
CureVac will be responsible for the preclinical- and clinical-development through Phase 1 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.