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GSK and CureVac will collaborate on mRNA-based vaccines and mAbs. Separately, the EIB and others provided CureVac with financing for development of its CVnCoV vaccine candidate and expansion of manufacturing.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and CureVac announced in a July 20, 2020 press release that they have signed a strategic collaboration agreement for the research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of up to five mRNA-based vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting infectious disease pathogens. The collaboration complements GSK’s existing mRNA capabilities, including GSKs own self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine technology platform, with CureVac’s integrated mRNA platform and mRNA manufacturing capability. CureVac’s existing COVID-19 mRNA and rabies vaccines research programs are not included in this collaboration, but the companies noted that advancing mRNA-based vaccine and treatment technologies is expected to play a role in further improving response against future pandemics.
Under the terms of the deal, GSK will make an equity investment in CureVac of €150 million (USD $172 million), an upfront cash payment of €120 million (USD $138 million), and a one-time reimbursable payment of €30 million (USD $34 million) for manufacturing capacity reservation in 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 €320 million (USD $368 million), commercial milestone payments of up to €380 million (USD $437 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 I trials of these projects; GSK will be responsible for further development and commercialization. CureVac will be responsible for the GMP manufacturing of the product candidates, including for commercialization, and will retain commercialization rights for selected countries for all product candidates.
In a July 6, 2020 press release, CureVac announced that the European Investment Bank (EIB) had provided the company with a €75 million (more than USD $86 million) loan agreement to support its ongoing development of vaccines against infectious diseases, including its vaccine candidate CVnCoV aimed at preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections. The financing will also be used to expand the company’s good manufacturing practice (GMP) certified production capabilities and accelerate the completion of its fourth production site in Tübingen, Germany. The EIB financing will be provided in three €25 million tranches upon completion of pre-defined milestones.
“The coronavirus will be with us, as long as we do not have a vaccine against it. This is why our work on this front, together with international actors, is so crucial,” said Mariya Gabriel, the EC’s Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, in the July 6 press release. “Recently we have presented our vaccines strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and deployment of vaccines against the novel coronavirus. And since the beginning of the pandemic, we increased the funding for the Infectious Diseases Finance Facility by €400 million [USD $460 million] to allow the EIB to process a higher volume of projects addressing this disease. With our support to CureVac we accelerate our efforts to find safe and effective solutions for everyone in Europe and globally.”
“We are very pleased with the EIB financing. It allows us to further invest in our mRNA technology platform to fight life-threatening diseases,” said Pierre Kemula, CFO of CureVac, in the release. “We are working intensively to develop a safe and effective low dose mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 and started a Phase I clinical trial of CVnCoV in June. We are looking forward to expediting the completion of our industrial-scale production site to provide critically needed supply of innovative mRNA-based vaccines.”
CureVac noted that it had also received funding to develop its mRNA platform from the German government (USD $343 million announced in June 2020) and from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and a group of existing and new investors with approximately USD $126 million, announced in a July 21, 2020 press release.