CureVac, Sanofi Pasteur and In-Cell-Art Collaborate on a $33.1 Million Project Co-Funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
- 4-year collaboration in field of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for infectious diseases
- Collaboration validates, diversifies and further strengthens CureVac’s RNActive® technology platform
- Parallel commercial agreements with Sanofi Pasteur for specific pathogens provide potential upside to CureVac
CureVac GmbH today announced the signing of several agreements with Sanofi Pasteur S.A., the vaccines division of Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY). Under these agreements, CureVac and Sanofi Pasteur will further develop and apply CureVac’s proprietary RNActive® technology platform to the development of vaccines against several infectious diseases.
A research proposal with total funding of $33.1 million involving a collaboration among CureVac, Sanofi Pasteur (including Sanofi Pasteur VaxDesign Corp.) and In-Cell-Art S.A.S., a French biotech company contributing its nanoparticle technology, has been selected by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (an agency of the United States Department of Defense). In this 4-year project, CureVac and the other parties to the collaboration will further advance key aspects of CureVac’s RNActive® technology platform and will evaluate several vaccine candidates in a number of relevant disease models
Parallel to the collaboration agreements, CureVac and Sanofi Pasteur have also signed an option agreement with pre-agreed license terms for several pre-defined pathogens. Sanofi Pasteur’s option rights are linked to fulfillment of certain agreed acceptance criteria relating to the DARPA project. CureVac retains the rights to its own core development programs and to all of its background technology for any other pathogens outside those within the Sanofi Pasteur option.
“We are very pleased that Sanofi Pasteur has recognized the full potential of our RNActive® technology platform for the development of vaccines particularly for infectious diseases. This multi-year collaboration will allow us to significantly strengthen our technology platform and to scale it up for commercial vaccination purposes,” says Ingmar Hoerr, CEO of CureVac. “The opportunity to collaborate with a world-leading vaccine company such as Sanofi Pasteur is an exciting step as we continue to demonstrate in both the commercial and defense-related settings the broad applicability and versatility of our RNActive® technology platform, which may become game changing for the vaccine field,” adds Karl-Josef Kallen, Head of R&D at CureVac.
Under the terms of the license agreements, CureVac may receive an upfront payment from Sanofi Pasteur for each pathogen, research funding and payments for achieving several clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones. For each pathogen subject to Sanofi Pasteur’s option, the agreements could encompass up to €101.5 million for CureVac in upfront and milestone payments in addition to tiered royalties on sales of RNActive® vaccines if Sanofi Pasteur develops a prophylactic or a therapeutic vaccine against such pathogen and up to €150.5 million if Sanofi-Pasteur develops both a prophylactic and a therapeutic vaccine. Under the license agreements, Sanofi Pasteur will fund all research and development activities and will have exclusive marketing rights worldwide for RNActive® vaccines against the pathogens for which Sanofi Pasteur has exercised the option.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was established in 1958 to prevent strategic surprise from negatively impacting U.S. national security and create strategic surprise for U.S. adversaries by maintaining the technological superiority of the U.S. military. To fulfill its mission, the Agency relies on diverse performers to apply multi-disciplinary approaches to both advance knowledge through basic research and create innovative technologies that address current practical problems through applied research. DARPA’s scientific investigations span the gamut from laboratory efforts to the creation of full-scale technology demonstrations in the fields of biology, medicine, computer science, chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics, material sciences, social sciences, neurosciences and more (examples include inventions and early work relating to the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the internet). As the DoD’s primary innovation engine, DARPA undertakes projects that are finite in duration but that create lasting revolutionary change.
About Sanofi Pasteur
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: www.sanofipasteur.com or www.sanofipasteur.us.
In-Cell-Art, which is headquartered in Nantes (in western France), is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the preclinical and pharmaceutical development of nano-carriers for macromolecular drugs. Its founder and research team, which includes a Nobel Laureate, have designed new classes of vectors that are organized on a nano-metric scale, which enables them to cross the cell barrier efficiently and safely. In-Cell-Art is a privately held company that was founded in 2005. It is a member of the Atlantic Biotherapies high-tech cluster of biotechnology companies in western France.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF SUPPORT AND DISCLAIMER: This press release relates to work that will be supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under Contract No. HR0011-11-3-0001. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this press release are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
CureVac is the global leader in mRNA based vaccination technologies and develops mRNA-based vaccines as therapeutic vaccines in oncology as well as prophylactic vaccines for infectious diseases. The company has completed Phase I/IIa studies with cancer vaccines based on its RNActive® technology platform for the treatment of prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In addition, CureVac also independently develops RNActive® prophylactic vaccines against various infectious diseases. The company has also developed RNA-based adjuvants. Results with these CureVac products strongly suggest that they are safe and capable of inducing balanced immune responses including humoral and cellular, Th1 and Th2 and effector and memory responses. For more information, please visit: http://www.curevac.com/