INDIANAPOLIS and TÜBINGEN, Germany, Oct. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) and CureVac AG have announced a global immuno-oncology collaboration focused on the development and commercialization of up to five potential cancer vaccine products based on CureVac’s proprietary RNActive® technology. The companies will use messenger RNA (mRNA) technology that targets tumor neoantigens for a more robust anti-cancer immune response.
“We are excited to be collaborating with CureVac to discover what could potentially be the next frontier of cancer medicines,” said Greg Plowman, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of oncology research at Lilly. “This collaboration reinforces Lilly’s commitment to delivering life-changing medicines to treat and cure people living with cancer around the world.”
Ingmar Hoerr, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of CureVac, stated, “This new collaboration with Lilly is a testimony to the progress and sophistication of CureVac’s RNActive technology and the potential of mRNA-based therapeutics. We now have the opportunity to combine forces to further expand the exciting space of immuno-oncology with the next generation of cancer therapies. We are thrilled to work with the Lilly team and hope to advance this new treatment paradigm into the clinic and ultimately to the market.”
Under the terms of the agreement, CureVac will receive an upfront payment of $50 million and an equity investment of €45 million. CureVac is also eligible to receive more than $1.7 billion in development and commercialization milestones if all five vaccines are successfully developed, plus tiered royalties on product sales. Lilly is responsible for target identification, clinical development and commercialization. CureVac will be responsible for mRNA design, formulation and manufacturing of clinical supply and retains the option to co-promote the vaccine products in Germany.
CureVac’s proprietary RNActive technology will be used to deliver mRNA that ultimately directs the human immune system to target the encoded neoantigens. These tumor-specific neoantigens instruct the patient’s existing immune system to mount a selective and potent response to eradicate the cancer.
This transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. Subject to the closing of this transaction, Lilly expects to incur an acquired in-process research and development charge to earnings of approximately $0.03 per share.
About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.
CureVac is a leading company in the field of messenger RNA (mRNA) technology with more than 17 years expertise in handling, optimizing and manufacturing this versatile molecule for medical purposes. The principle of CureVac’s proprietary technology is the use of mRNA as a data carrier to instruct the human body to produce its own proteins capable of fighting a wide range of diseases. The company applies its technologies for the development of cancer therapies, prophylactic vaccines and molecular therapies.
To date, CureVac has received approximately $370 million (€355 million) in equity investments including significant investments from SAP founder Dietmar Hopp’s dievini and an investment of $52 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. CureVac has also entered into collaborations with multinational corporations and organizations, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi Pasteur, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and IAVI.