- GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE: GSK) announced it is buying a 10% stake in German biotechnology company CureVac for £130 million
GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE: GSK) announced it is buying a 10% stake in German biotechnology company CureVac for £130 million (€150 million) in CureVac and an upfront payment of £104 million (€120 million). This deal values CureVac at over $1.6 billion. CureVac is reportedly preparing to debut on the stock market this year.
As part of the strategic collaboration, GlaxoSmithKline and CureVac are going to research, develop, manufacture and commercialize of up to five mRNA-based vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting infectious disease pathogens. And the collaboration complements GSK’s existing mRNA capabilities with CureVac’s integrated mRNA platform.
mRNA (messenger RNA) technology is a progressing 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. And 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 thus enabling the human immune system to prevent or fight disease.
CureVac’s leadership in mRNA technology — along with its mRNA manufacturing capability — complements GSKs existing scientific leadership in vaccines, including GSKs own self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine technology platform, and further builds on GSKs growing capability in mAbs innovation, aligned to its R&D focus on the science of immunology. And advancing mRNA-based vaccine and treatment technologies is also expected to play a role in further improving response against future pandemics.
The companies will combine their mRNA expertise on development opportunities across a range of infectious disease pathogens, selected with the potential to best utilize the advantages of this platform technology while addressing significant unmet medical need and economic burden. And CureVac’s existing COVID-19 mRNA and rabies vaccines research programs are not included in the collaboration announced today.
CureVac will also be eligible to receive development and regulatory milestone payments of up to £277 million (€320 million), commercial milestone payments of up to £329 million (€380 million) and tiered royalties on product sales.
GSK is going to fund R&D activities at CureVac related to the development projects covered by the collaboration. And CureVac will be responsible for the preclinical- and clinical-development through Phase 1 trials of these projects — after which GSK will be responsible for further development and commercialization. Plus 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.
“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.”
— Roger Connor, President GSK Vaccines
“We are delighted to partner with GSK. With this collaboration, we are gaining a world-class partner whose expertise and global footprint will allow us to further develop and translate the value of our platform into potential products for the world.”
— Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, acting Chief Executive Officer of CureVac