CureVac, Sanofi Pasteur ink license agreement

Companies to develop, commercialize mRNA-based vaccine

Kelsey Kaustinen
TUBINGEN, Germany—Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company CureVac has announced the establishment of an exclusive license agreement with Sanofi Pasteur S.A., the vaccines division of Sanofi, for the development and commercialization of an mRNA-based vaccine against an undisclosed pathogen.
 
This agreement is the result of CureVac’s ongoing four-year $33.1-million research collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur and In-Cell-Art, co-funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The collaboration was announced in November 2011, and additional details were not disclosed.
 
Parallel to that agreement, CureVac and Sanofi Pasteur signed a collaboration and license option agreement in 2011 for several pre-defined pathogens. CureVac achieved all pre-agreed upon milestones and acceptance criteria related to the agreements, and as such, Sanofi Pasteur exercised its first option and extended its exclusive and non-exclusive options on all five pathogens.
 
Per the terms of the commercial license agreement, Sanofi Pasteur will be responsible for funding all research, development, manufacturing and commercialization activities, and in return will hold exclusive worldwide marketing rights for the resulting RNActive vaccine. CureVac stands to receive an upfront payment of an undisclosed amount for the exercise of Sanofi Pasteur’s option as well as an additional payment as a result of Sanofi Pasteur extending the option term for the other pathogens. CureVac will also be eligible for additional milestone payments of up to $150.5 million if certain clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones are met, in addition to royalty payments tied to product sales of RNActive vaccines.
 
“We are very pleased that our RNActive technology platform has reached all significant milestones in this important collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur, the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines,” Ingmar Hoerr, CEO of CureVac, said in a press release. “Our mRNA-based approach shows significant advantages for the development of vaccines, particularly for infectious diseases, such as thermostability and low cost of goods after up-scaling.”
 
CureVac’s RNActive vaccines are novel technology for generating and producing safe, efficacious and cost-effective mRNA-based vaccines that are protected against both elevated temperature and inadvertent freezing. The vaccines are based on optimized, antigen-encoding and complexed mRNA molecules that can stimulate the immune system. CureVac’s technology platform is designed to produce potent prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for cancer and infectious diseases.
 
In March of this year, CureVac’s RNActive technology won it the 2 million Vaccine Prize of the European Commission for progress toward a novel technology for providing vaccines across the globe in safe, affordable ways.
 
“Sanofi Pasteur’s basic objective of finding new vaccine solutions to address patients' needs is furthered by our collaboration with CureVac,” Nicolas Burdin, head of Discovery Research at Sanofi Pasteur in France, commented in a statement. “Accessing CureVac's innovative mRNA technology may allow Sanofi Pasteur to exploit a platform that can be more broadly applicable across indications to develop vaccines, as the RNActive technology is expected to complement conventional technologies.”
 
 
SOURCE: CureVac press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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