RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is making a big bet on vaccines created around messenger RNA (mRNA) by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in CureVac, which also is backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
GSK, which has several operations in the Triangle region, announced the deal with CureVac early Monday. CureVac has offices in Germany and Boston.
Explained Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines: “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. 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 deal covers up to five mRNA-based vaccines. GSK also has its own mRNA resources.
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.
The deal calls for:
- GSK makes equity investment of some $150 million – nearly a 10% stake in the firm
- An upfront payment of some $120 million
- A $30 million payment to preserve manufacturing capacity.
- Possible milestone payments of some $700 million
- Tiered royalties
GSK also will fund research and development activities.
Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire