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Lilly teams up with CureVac in $1.8 billion cancer vaccine partnership

Published on 19/10/17 at 10:04am

Eli Lilly has announced it is to partner up with CureVac to leverage its proprietary RNActive technology in order to develop and commercialise up to five cancer vaccine products.

The partnership is potentially worth up to $1.8 billion, broken down into an upfront payment of $50 million and an equity investment of $52.9 million. The remainder of the sum is comprised of development and commercial milestones for which CureVac is eligible, in addition to royalties on product sales. The full total will only be offered in the event all five vaccines are successfully developed.

“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,” explained Dr Ingmar Hoerr, co-founder and CEO of CureVac. “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.”

The partnership will utilise messenger RNA (mRNA) technology which is able to produce therapeutic proteins inside a patient’s body. CureVac’s technology works by employing specific tumour neoantigens which direct the patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells.

“We are excited to be collaborating with CureVac to discover what could potentially be the next frontier of cancer medicines,” said Dr Greg Plowman, 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.”

Matt Fellows

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