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CureVac, Bayer Partner on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply

Syringe in hand

(Sam Moqadam, Unsplash)

7 Jan. 2021. Vaccine developer CureVac and global drug maker Bayer are partnering on further development, authorization, and supply of CureVac’s Covid-19 vaccine. The agreement calls for the companies to share regulatory clearances for CureVac’s vaccine candidate code-named CVnCoV, with Bayer to assist on clinical development, safety monitoring, and distribution worldwide.

CureVac AG in Tübingen, Germany creates vaccines with a technology producing messenger RNA, the nucleic acids that transcribe an individual’s genetic code in DNA into amino acids that instruct cells in the body to produce proteins. With this technology, the company develops cancer immunotherapies and vaccines for infectious diseases. The platform is based on research by CureVac’s scientific founder Ingmar Hoerr in the 1990s, which assembles the usually unstable messenger RNA molecules into stable therapeutics.

For CVnCoV, CureVac adapts its technology by packaging messenger RNA in lipid nanoparticles to target a protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 spike. The vaccine enables the body to recognize the spike protein as an invader, and invokes the immune system to produce antibodies and T-cells protecting against infection. As reported by Science & Enterprise in November 2020, an early-stage clinical trial shows the two-dose CVnCoV vaccine is safe and produces an immune response with both antibodies and T-cells. The company has mid- and late-stage trials of CVnCoV underway in Germany and Latin America.

Hundreds of millions of doses

Under the agreement, CureVac will pursue regulatory authorizations for CVnCoV in Europe, while Bayer will have an option to file for regulatory authorization in other regions. Bayer will provide its established country infrastructure in Europe for CureVac’s vaccine, covering clinical operations, regulatory affairs, safety monitoring, medical information, and supply chain performance. The two companies pledge to join forces to supply “hundreds of millions” of doses worldwide, once regulatory approvals are granted. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Building on the positive data we have seen so far with CVnCoV,” says Franz-Werner Haas, CEO of CureVac in a statement, “we now also have another strong partner on our side to get the vaccine to the people who need it following the receipt of the requisite regulatory approvals.”

“We are highly committed to making our capabilities and networks available to help end this pandemic,” notes Stefan Oelrich, president of Bayer’s pharmaceuticals division. Oelrich adds, “We are therefore pleased to be able to provide significant support to CureVac, a leader in mRNA technology, in advancing the further development and supply of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.”

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