An innovative clinical-stage biotech company developing transformative medicines based on an optimized mRNA technology platform just secured €75 million in a loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB). With a mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CureVac actually was invited to the U.S. White House to talk about an exclusive deal with the U.S. government, according to reports. The company wasn’t interested and, with new capital access, focuses on CVnCoV, the mRNA-based vaccine candidate targeting SARS-CoV-2 infection.
This financing is made possible by the European Commission, which established in this time of crisis a vaccines strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing and deployment of vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The European Commission recently increased funding for its Infectious Diseases Finance Facility by €400 million, reports Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation Research, Culture, Education and Youth. The European Union is taking a different, more conservative approach to funding vaccines targeting SARS-CoV-2 than the as across the pond in the United States.
TrialSite News offer a brief breakdown of affairs.
What will the capital be used for?
These funds, provided in three tranches, will support CureVac’s ongoing development vaccines, including the CVnCoV investigational vaccine candidate targeting SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19. The loan will additionally support the company’s efforts to expand its Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified production capabilities as well as accelerate the completion of its fourth production site in Tübingen, Germany.
How is the financing structured?
In three milestone-driven tranches. So for each €25 million, the company must meet explicit milestone targets.
Where does the European Investment Bank secure its funding?
The European Commission and the Infectious Diseases Finance Facility (IDFF) of the EU’s Horizon 2020 program. The IDFF is an example of successful collaboration between the European Commission and the EIB in the face of the health crisis. Thus far, via the IDFF the EIB has funded 13 companies with a total of €316 in loans.
What is this financing primarily for?
Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President was quoted in the press release associated with the financing: “But in times like ours it becomes clear just how important they (vaccines) are to keep societies running globally. In fact, the only way to end the dramatic situation the world is facing since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic would be a safe and effective vaccine.”
Pierre Kemula, CureVac’s Chief Financial Officer reported that the company is “pleased with the EIB financing” that would be used to “expediting the completion of our industrial-scale production site to provide critically needed supply of innovative mRNA-based vaccines.”
Has CVnCoV entered clinical trials?
Yes. Phase 1 in June.
Did the U.S. Government approach the company and invite them to the White House?
Yes. TrialSIte News reported that President Donald Trump, via his advisors, identified the company with big potential. Hence they were invited to the White House to discuss deal making. This caused a stir in Germany and the company’s CEO at the time, Daniel Menichella, soon thereafter moved on from the company.
What is CureVac’s Innovative mRNA platform?
CureVac’s mRNA technology platform has shown potential in the clinical development and production of mRNA based vaccines and therapeutics. The Company’s proprietary RNAoptimizer® platform aims to optimize the properties of mRNA medicines based on its three core pillars: protein design, mRNA optimization and mRNA delivery. The technology can be tailored to induce varying degrees of immune responses against specific protein antigens of choice, potentially providing potent prophylactic vaccines for the prevention of infectious diseases at a low dose, such as Rabies, as well as immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. The technology can also be adapted to avoid immune activation for purposes of protein therapy and antibodies, thereby providing potential new therapeutic modalities for patients suffering from a vast range of diseases.