Type: Second-generation mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, based on a newer mRNA backbone than the one used by CureVac’s CVnCoV. That backbone features targeted optimizations designed to improve intracellular mRNA stability and translation for increased and extended protein expression. These optimizations, according to CureVac, potentially allow for strong immune responses at low doses, which will support the development of multivalent vaccines to target rapidly spreading COVID-19 variants.
Status: A research team on May 13 posted a study on bioRxiv detailing the first preclinical data generated in a rat model by CV2CoV. The preprint showed that the vaccine induced high levels of antigen production as well as strong and dose-dependent immune responses in vaccinated animals.
CureVac and GSK said preclinical data in rats immunized with CV2CoV in the dose range of 0.5-40µg showed fast onset of strong immune responses already after the first dose. The serum of vaccinated animals showed significant cross-neutralization against variants first discovered in Denmark (B.1.1.298), the UK (B.1.1.7) and South Africa (B.1.351), the companies added.
“Spurred by the emergence of virus variants that have the potential to affect the efficacy of currently approved first-generation mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, CureVac and GSK aim to jointly develop second-generation vaccine candidates that offer improved immune responses and target emerging variants,” said Igor Splawski, PhD, CureVac’s chief scientific officer. Combined with lower doses, these second-generation vaccines could enable also broad protection against selected strains in a multivalent vaccine format.”
The first clinical trials for CV2CoV are expected to start in the third quarter, CureVac and GSK added.
CureVac and GSK on February 3 said they will partner exclusively to jointly develop a number of next generation messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines to protect from COVID-19, including multivalent and monovalent approaches, with the potential of addressing multiple emerging variants in one vaccine. The companies aim to introduce their vaccine in 2022, subject to regulatory approval.
CureVac and GSK entered into their strategic mRNA technology partnership in July 2020.
COVID-19: 300 Candidates and Counting
To navigate through the >300 potential therapeutic and vaccine options for COVID-19, GEN has grouped the candidates into four broad categories based on their developmental and (where applicable) clinical progress:
● FRONT RUNNER – the most promising therapeutics/vaccines based on clinical progress, favorable data or both.
● DEFINITELY MAYBE – earlier phases with promising partners, or more advanced candidates in development that have generated uneven data
● KEEPING AN EYE ON… – interesting technology, attracting notable partners, or both, but preliminary data.
● TOO SOON TO TELL – longshots pending additional experimental and/or clinical data.
GEN has also tagged the most common treatment types: