GSK gains 10% stake in mRNA vaccine developer Curevac in manufacturing deal

GSK and Curevac have signed an mRNA vaccine and monoclonal antibody drug manufacturing and commercialization agreement.

The agreement will combine Curevac’s mRNA technology and manufacturing capabilities with GSK’s vaccines knowhow, self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine technology platform as well as its monoclonal antibody development and production capacity.

The collaboration will focus on five mRNA-based vaccines and mAbs targeting infectious diseases. GSK has agreed to pay €120 million upfront and make an equity investment of €150 million in Curevac.

Image: iStock/William Barton

The programs do not include Curevac’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, development of which is being part funded by a grant awarded by the European Commission in March.

Nor does the GSK deal include CureVac’s pipeline of mRNA-based rabies vaccines.

GSK vaccines president Roger Connor said: “GSK’s self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine technology has shown us the potential of mRNA technology to advance the science of vaccine development, and CureVac’s experience complements our own expertise.

“Through the application of mRNA technology, including SAM, we hope to be able to develop and scale up advanced vaccines and therapies to treat and prevent infectious diseases quicker than ever before.”

Franz-Werner Haas, acting Chief Executive Officer of Curevac, said: “With this collaboration, we are gaining a world-class partner whose expertise and global footprint will allow us to further develop and translate the value of our platform into potential products for the world.”

Equity investment

Last month the German Government announced a €300 million equity investment for a 23% holding in Curevac. Based on that valuation, GSK’s investment would give it a 10% holding in the firm.

GSK has also agreed to make a reimbursable payment of €30 million to reserve manufacturing capacity at a GMP facility Curevac is building in Tübingen, Germany.

News of the deal comes a few weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced his firm’s Grohman Automation subsidiary is developing a bioreactor for mRNA production in collaboration with Curevac.