CureVac N.V. (NASDAQ:CVAC), a global biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of transformative medicines based on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), today announced that it has entered a collaboration with the UK Government to develop and manufacture potential vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2 variants. Any resulting vaccine candidates will be manufactured and distributed in the UK and its overseas and dependent territories, subject to regulatory approval. The objective of the collaboration is to mitigate the effects of the current pandemic and help prepare against future SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks by working on multiple variant vaccines.
“One of the biggest challenges we continue to face in combating COVID-19 is the emergence of multiple variants, each of which poses a potentially significant threat to public health,” said Dr. Antony Blanc, Chief Business Officer and Chief Commercial Officer of CureVac. “The UK Government and its Vaccines Taskforce set up by BEIS has been at the forefront of surveillance, vaccine development and delivery of vaccines for deployment during this pandemic. At CureVac, we believe we have the ability to quickly adapt our mRNA technology to address current variants and prepare for the emergence of new strains. This collaboration is expected to bring to bear our significant combined forces to ensure vaccines keep winning against COVID-19.”
Dr Clive Dix, Interim Chair of the UK Vaccines Task Force added : “Today’s agreement will help ensure the UK is best prepared against the emergence of any significant new virus variant as mRNA vaccines can be rapidly adapted to be effective against new virus variants more easily than traditional vaccine technologies. We are constantly tracking the virus so we can identify any significant new variant as quickly as possible; therefore, as part of this agreement, CureVac and the UK Government will assess multiple virus variants and are expected to generate multiple vaccine candidates against those selected.”
The research and development collaboration combines CureVac’s resources and technological expertise in mRNA vaccine development with the scientific experience of the Vaccines Taskforce (VTF) and the UK’s network of experts and capabilities in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine research and development. As part of the collaboration, the VTF, informed by the newly-formed Variant Vaccine Expert Advisory Group, and CureVac, with its unique mRNA vaccine platform, will assess multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants and are expected to generate vaccine candidates against those selected. Clinical studies will be expedited in the UK in order to secure emergency or conditional marketing authorizations for selected vaccine candidates against the most threatening variant viruses.
CureVac will also transfer its technology to enable the manufacturing of clinical and commercial quantities of any vaccines that result from the collaboration, as well as manufacturing of CureVac's existing vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (CVnCoV), which is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials.
The collaboration with the VTF and the UK government complements and accelerates CureVac´s COVID-19 program and its ability to contribute to stopping the pandemic. CureVac’s CVnCoV vaccine candidate currently in development is supported by Bayer, and CureVac is co-developing its next-generation COVID-19 vaccine candidates with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Both collaborations will benefit from the variants developed with the VTF.
Subject to regulatory approval, the agreement includes an initial supply of 50 million doses of variant vaccines to the UK with some production expected to take place in the UK. Additionally, the agreement foresees that manufacturing capabilities will be in place for rapid production of large quantities of variant vaccines for the UK if and when needed over the next three years. CureVac is expecting to use its broader manufacturing network to produce variant vaccine candidates for global supply.