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May 10, 2010

CureVac Scores €27.6M to Advance Cancer Immunotherapies through Clinical Trials

  • CureVac has closed a €27.6 million (about $35.71 million) financing round and will use the proceeds for further clinical development of RNActive® therapeutic vaccines against solid tumors. The funds will also help accelerate preclinical work on prophylactic vaccines against infectious diseases.

    CureVac says that it has demonstrated the ability 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.

    CureVac's lead compound, CV9103, is in a Phase IIa prostate cancer study. Results are expected in the second half of this year. The firm is also evaluating mRNA vaccine CV9201 in a Phase I non-small-cell lung cancer trial.

    The firm was established in December 2000 as a spin-off from the Tübingen University, Germany, and has raised a total of €65 million (roughly $83.94 million), according to Ingmar Hoerr, CEO of CureVac. It is headquartered in Tübingen with clinical development facilities in Frankfurt. Additionally, the company has built a production plant for manufacturing pharmaceutical-grade mRNA according to cGMP.

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