Collaboration to Develop mRNA Vaccines Expands

TUBINGEN, Germany, Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CureVac, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the field of mRNA-based technology, today announced that the company has initiated its third target product development program in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program will leverage CureVac's RNActive® technology platform in the development of a prophylactic vaccine to protect against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adding to the development programs previously initiated by CureVac and the Gates Foundation targeting mRNA vaccines for HIV and Rotavirus.

"We're pleased to intensify our collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with this RSV vaccine development-program," said Ingmar Hoerr, CEO of CureVac. "This project is our third infectious disease program to be developed in collaboration with the foundation, and we are honored to have the opportunity to utilize our mRNA technology to fight a host of diseases that have a disproportionate impact on the world's poorest countries."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, RSV is a common virus spread through coughing and sneezing that is most prevalent during fall, winter and spring. RSV can be especially serious for infants and older adults. Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent RSV infection.

In March 2015, the Gates Foundation participated with $52 million in CureVac's financing round of a total of $76 million in the form of an equity investment to support continued development of CureVac's RNA technology platform and the construction of an industrial scale Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) production facility. As part of this partnership, CureVac and the Gates Foundation anticipate that they will also collaborate on the development and production of numerous vaccines against infectious diseases that disproportionately affect people in the world's poorest countries. Under the terms of the agreement, any Gates Foundation funded products will be made available by CureVac at an affordable price in poor countries, while CureVac will be able to market such products 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.

About CureVac 

CureVac is the technology leader in messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics with more than 15 years of expertise and the most advanced and broadest pipeline and IP portfolio in the industry. Founded in 2000, CureVac's mRNA products are subject of seven active clinical studies in more than 350 patients and healthy volunteers, including a Phase IIb trial in prostate cancer. CureVac's mRNA technology is also the foundation for several high-profile partnerships involving multinational corporations and organizations, including agreements with Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi Pasteur, and Johnson & Johnson, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

CureVac's proprietary technology platform utilizes natural, chemically unmodified mRNA, which studies have shown elicits greater therapeutic responses than chemically modified mRNA. CureVac's mRNA programs include novel mRNA-based cancer immunotherapies and prophylactic vaccines against infectious diseases (RNActive®), molecular therapies designed to trigger the body's own production of therapeutic proteins (RNArt®), and RNA encoded antibodies (RNAntibody®). In 2006, CureVac successfully established the first GMP facility worldwide for the manufacturing of mRNA.

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