GSK and CureVac Enter into Licensing Agreement

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The companies have restructured their existing collaboration into a licensing agreement that invests in mRNA development.

GSK announced on July 3, 2024 that it has restructured its existing collaboration with CureVac into a new licensing agreement that will focus on messenger RNA (mRNA) development. The two companies have collaborated since 2020 on mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases and have vaccine candidates for influenza and COVID-19 in Phase II clinical development. There is also an avian influenza vaccine in Phase I development.

Under the agreement, GSK will gain full rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize mRNA vaccine candidates for influenza and COVID-19 globally. CureVac will receive €400 million (US$432.34 million) upfront with an additional €1.05 billion (US$1.133 billion) in milestone payments and tiered royalties. Previous financial considerations from the prior collaboration have been replaced. CureVac will retain exclusive rights to additional undisclosed and preclinically validated infectious disease targets and will be able to independently develop and partner mRNA vaccines in any other infectious disease or other indication.

GSK has invested in vaccine platform technologies and sees mRNA as an adaptable vaccine technology that can be applied to changing viral pathogens because of its ability to support rapid strain change. The company intends to continue to develop mRNA capabilities through partnerships, artificial intelligence/machine learning-based sequence optimization, nanoparticle design, and manufacturing.

“We are excited about our flu/COVID-19 programs and the opportunity to develop best-in-class mRNA vaccines to change the standard of care. With this new agreement, we will apply GSK’s capabilities, partnerships and intellectual property to CureVac’s technology, to deliver these promising vaccines at pace,” Tony Wood, chief scientific officer at GSK, said in a press release (1).


“The collaboration with GSK has been instrumental in developing promising, late clinical-stage vaccine candidates, leveraging our proprietary mRNA platform. This new licensing agreement puts us in a strong financial position and enables us to focus on efforts in building a strong R&D pipeline,” Alexander Zehnder, chief executive officer, CureVac, said in the release.

CureVac also announced on July 3, 2024 that it was restructuring its strategy to focus on high-value mRNA projects in oncology and areas of unmet needs. The restructuring includes a reduction in workforce and refocused technology innovation, research, and development. The company plans to have operational expenses decrease more than 30% from 2025 onward as a result of the restructuring.

“We have achieved remarkable progress in advancing our mRNA platform, evidenced by promising Phase II data for influenza and COVID-19 and the recent licensing agreement with GSK,” Zehnder said in a press release (2). “Now, we can embark on a new chapter for CureVac. The new GSK agreement not only provides substantial financing but also allows us to streamline our operations and focus on technology innovation, research, and development. It enables us to prioritize our oncology programs and further leverage our technology in other areas where mRNA is uniquely suited to develop novel treatment approaches. While the approximately 30% workforce reduction is a difficult decision on a personal level, I am convinced that this is a necessary step to ensure the long-term success of CureVac. As we implement this change, we are grateful to all our employees for their dedication, passion and commitment in advancing mRNA-based therapies to patients.”


1. GSK. GSK and CureVac to Restructure Collaboration into New Licensing Agreement. Press Release. July 3, 2024.
2. CureVac. CureVac Initiates Strategic Restructuring to Algin Resources with Focus on High-Value mRNA Pipeline Opportunities. Press Release. July 3, 2023.