Press Release -- CureVac GmbH, the mRNA vaccine company, today announced the closing of a EUR 27.6 million (US$ 35.25 million) financing round with its major shareholder, dievini Hopp BioTech holding GmbH & Co. KG.
The proceeds will enable further clinical development of RNActive® therapeutic vaccines against solid tumours. The funds will also help to accelerate preclinical and clinical development of prophylactic vaccines against infectious diseases.
Currently, CureVac's lead compound to treat prostate cancer, CV9103, is in a Phase IIa trial, with results expected in the second half of 2010. In a separate Phase I study, the company is developing CV9201, an mRNA vaccine compound to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
"Since its foundation, CureVac, a spin-off from Tübingen University, has raised a total of EUR 65 million (US$ 83 million). This significant funding shows clearly the faith and confidence of our main investor, dievini Hopp" said Ingmar Hoerr, CEO of CureVac. "The proceeds from this financing round will allow us to further develop our mRNA immunotherapeutics for the treatment of prostate cancer and NSCLC. Furthermore, the funds will enable us to speed up the development of our very promising prophylactic vaccine platform against infectious diseases as well as to further develop our novel RNA-based adjuvants."
"Based on its unique mRNA-based RNActive® technology and on all the data, knowledge and patents generated so far, we think that CureVac is in a strong position to become an important player in future immunotherapy," said Friedrich von Bohlen, managing partner of dievini Hopp Biotech Holding GmbH & Co. KG. "With this further funding from our side, CureVac is able to develop its promising therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine candidates. We are convinced that immunotherapeutic approaches will become more and more important in future therapy and prophylaxis of infectious diseases as well as the fight against cancer," Friedrich von Bohlen added.
CureVac GmbH is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the prophylactic and therapeutic application of messenger RNA (mRNA). CureVac's lead programme is dedicated to the development of active immunotherapies (based on its RNActive® technology) for the treatment of prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Furthermore, in preclinical studies, CureVac is developing prophylactic vaccines and adjuvants to address infectious diseases.
Currently, there are two candidates in clinical development: CV9103 to treat prostate cancer, which, in the U.S. and Europe, is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men, and CV9201, to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Lung cancer affects more than 1.4 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of cancer death.
CureVac, a spin-off from the Tübingen University, Germany, was established in December 2000 and is headquartered in Tübingen with clinical development facilities in Frankfurt. Since its inception, the Company has raised approximately EUR 65 million. The principal investor of the company is dievini Hopp BioTech holding GmbH&Co. KG, the biotech investment firm of the Hopp family.
RNActive®, RNAdjuvant®, PUREmessenger® are registered trademarks of CureVac GmbH.
About CureVac's mRNA-derived Technologies
Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) is a genetic template for protein synthesis. It delivers the information encoded by genes from DNA to ribosomes where the information is translated into individual proteins. Natural RNA is an unstable biomolecule that is rapidly digested in the human body. As a result, its potential role as a therapeutic has been overlooked for decades.
CureVac has proved it is possible to modify mRNA making it suitable for therapeutic purposes and maintaining its physiological properties. CureVac's RNActive®-derived customized mRNA molecules are used to encode different antigens that are expressed by cells residing in the upper layers of the skin. Hence, the immune system will recognize these antigens on presentation to dendritic cells and react by forming both antigen-specific T-cells and humoral antibodies.
Building on its unique expertise from many years of RNA research and molecular design, the Company has established proprietary technologies. Furthermore, CureVac has built up a worldwide unique production plant for manufacturing pharmaceutical grade mRNA according to cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice). The combination of these technologies enables the Company to design and manufacture mRNA for a broad range of applications.
Marijke Barner, PhD
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