CureVac AG, Tübingen
Founded in 2000, the biopharmaceutical company CureVac is technology leader in the development of drugs that are based on the molecule Messenger RNA (mRNA). Here, the company follows the body’s own principle in which mRNA is used as a data carrier to instruct the human body to produce its own proteins capable of fighting a wide range of diseases. The RNA people pursue the ambitious goal of making the first mRNA-based drug available to people in need.
Until today, CureVac has tested its mRNA-based products in eight clinical studies with about 450 human patients and healthy volunteers and thus has the most advanced product pipeline in the field.
RNActive® Cancer Immunotherapy
RNActive® cancer immunotherapies mobilize the patient’s own immune system to fight their tumor(s) with a specific immune response. CureVac’s products typically consist of several mRNA molecules that encode for specific tumor-associated antigens. In initial clinical trials, CureVac demonstrated clinical safety and activity in generating target-specific immune responses against all antitumor antigens. The current clinical focus is on treatments for both prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC, out-licensed to Boehringer Ingelheim).
RNActive® Prophylactic Vaccines
RNActive® prophylactic vaccines represent a novel technology for the production of safe, efficacious and cost-effective vaccines for infectious diseases. CureVac is currently testing a rabies vaccine in a phase I clinical trial with healthy volunteers – this is the first time that a prophylactic vaccine made with mRNA is in the clinic.
In March 2014, CureVac received the EUR 2 million Vaccine Prize from the European Commission for its RNActive® vaccine technology. In particular, the jury acknowledged the fact that the mRNA-based vaccines do not require a cold chain during transport and storage.
CureVac is developing several vaccines against infectious diseases in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and IAVI.
CureVac’s RNArt® molecules are being developed as molecular therapy to trigger the body’s own production of therapeutic proteins or antibodies. Without the unwanted effect of stimulating the immune system, an RNArt® therapy can, for example, be used for protein replacement or passive immunization. Thus this technology effectively creates an ‘in vivo factory’ for targeted therapies.
RNAdjuvant® – built upon long-chain, non-coding RNA molecules – improves the quantity and quality of the immune response, thereby amplifying the effects of immunotherapeutic treatments against cancer or of conventional vaccines used to prevent infectious diseases. Currently CureVac is conducting a clinical phase I trial with an RNAdjuvant® drug in combination with an already approved rabies vaccine.
CureVac’s In-House GMP Multi-Product Facility
Since 2006 CureVac operates its own GMP facility that allows for the very rapid production of all RNA drug products. By this standardized process more than 1,000 mRNA constructs have already been successfully produced. CureVac’s multi-product facility has been audited numerous times by governmental authorities, and has received several manufacturing approvals for clinical trials (PEI, FDA, Swissmedic). In 2016 CureVac will start the construction of an industrial scale production facility with a capacity of 30 million doses per year.