CureVac financing research at Yale to advance drug development

The German biopharmaceuticals company CureVac has signed a collaborative research agreement (CRA) with Yale University to discover new, candidate drugs for treating lung diseases. The Tübingen-based company is financing the entire research project and retains an option to acquire any rights associated with the candidates.

Woman; Quelle: GettyImages/Martin-Barraud
© GettyImages/Martin-Barraud

CureVac is known for its technology – the CureVac Carrier Molecule (CVCM) – that uses messenger RNA (mRNA) as a data carrier to trigger the production of disease fighting proteins in the human body. The 20-year-old German company and Yale researchers are joining forces to develop mRNA-based lung therapy drugs.

The CRA covers the identification, research, and development of the new drugs. At Yale, researchers with expertise in the genomics of lung disease will identify potential therapy candidates. CureVac will then carry out preclinical and clinical development for prospective drugs.

When the agreement was reached in mid-August, CureVac CEO Dan Menichella noted, “CureVac’s next-generation mRNA delivery vehicle, the CVCM, can reach targets in the lung and other organs and is well-suited for repeated administration. We look forward to uncovering potential new therapeutic candidates with Yale University to help provide solutions to those with the greatest medical need."

CureVac, and a number of its other German counterparts such as Biontech, have cooperated with many organizations and companies, in Germany and abroad. Among these, just for CureVac alone, are Boehringer, Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and CRISPR Therapeutics.

This latest project illustrates the strengths of Germany's medical biotechnology industry. Recent industry studies show that the sector continues to set records with each passing year. For example, a report by Boston Consulting Group says that in 2018 biopharmaceutical sales at hospitals and pharmacies brought in revenues of EUR 11.4 billion, or 11.7 percent more than they did the year before.

Among other benchmarks that were surpassed in 2018 were for the number of biopharmaceuticals approved and employment within Germany's medical biotechnology sector. What is more, the biopharmaceuticals being approved continue to increase their share of the market for pharmaceuticals in general. And finally, in 2018, Germany's biotech companies brought in a record EUR 1.32 billion of capital investment.