CEPI awards US$ 34M contract to CureVac to advance The RNA Printer
It was announced today that the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and CureVac AG, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the field of mRNA-based vaccines, have announced a partnership agreement worth up to US$ 34 million for the ongoing development of The RNA Printer prototype—a transportable, down-scaled, automated messenger RNA (mRNA) printing facility. This innovative platform will provide a rapid supply of lipid-nanoparticle (LNP)-formulated mRNA vaccine candidates that can target known pathogens (including Lassa Fever, Yellow Fever, and Rabies) and prepare for rapid response to new and previously unknown pathogens (referred to by WHO as “Disease X”).
Under the terms of the three-year partnership agreement, CureVac will use its mRNA platform to undertake preclinical development of vaccine candidates against Lassa Fever (which is listed on the WHO’s R&D blueprint for priority diseases), Rabies, and Yellow fever. Following successful preclinical tests for the three named indications, two of the vaccine candidates will undergo phase 1 clinical trials in humans.
The RNA Printer is capable of producing several grams of LNP-formulated mRNA (enough to produce more than a hundred thousand doses), within just a few weeks. This platform can also produce mRNA vaccine candidates against multiple pathogens using the same technology, saving time and reducing costs compared with other vaccine platforms.
“CureVac’s vaccine platform could be a game-changer, radically improving our ability to respond to the emergence of Disease X”, said Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI. “Disease X could emerge suddenly and have deadly consquences—we’ve seen this happen with Ebola, MERS coronavirus, Zika, and countless other diseases. That’s why we’re striving to develop rapid-response vaccine platforms—like CureVac’s mRNA technology—to defend against these unknown pathogens. CEPI has now established partnership agreements totaling more than $50 million in three such platforms”.
“CureVac’s mRNA technology can be designed to encode for many proteins or antigens, offering rich potential for the development of vaccines to protect against deadly pathogens,” said Daniel Menichella, CEO of CureVac. “We are excited to be working with CEPI to unlock The RNA Printer’s potential for rapid onsite delivery to outbreak regions, as well as in hospital pharmacy settings for personalized medicine production.”
The project is scheduled to begin in March, 2019.
For more information about CureVac and the RNA Printer, click here.