CureVac Stops Developing Corona Vaccine
German biotech company CureVac is halting the development of its first vaccine candidate against the coronavirus and shifting focus to a “second generation” vaccine. The company is also withdrawing its first vaccine candidate CVnCoV from the European Medicines Agency’s approval process.
German biotech company CureVac will stop developing its corona vaccine CVnCoV. Instead, it will focus more on its “second generation” corona vaccine, which the company is developing together with British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithkline (GSK).
As a direct consequence of the decision, the purchase agreement with the European Commission for 450 million doses of CVnCoV, of which 2.9 million for Belgium, also expires.
Curevac says it is still looking at moving its commitments for the first vaccine to its second-generation vaccine candidates. CureVac, therefore, says it will remain in contact with the European Commission. CVnCoV works in the same way as the corona vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. With CureVac, however, the agent turned out to offer much less protection. It was less than 50 percent effective in preventing disease, compared to around 90 percent for Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
CureVac and GSK strengthened their cooperation and are investing more resources and experts to accelerate the development and production of the second-generation program, it says. They expect clinical development to start in the coming months and aim for market approval in 2022. Preliminary results already show the “strong potential” of the second-generation vaccine (CV2CoV, also an mRNA vaccine) compared to the first vaccine, according to CureVac. CVnCoV. In animals, the ability to stimulate the production of antibodies is said to be about 10 times higher.
The CEO of CureVac, Franz-Herner Haas, states that the company wants to make a difference with a safe and effective vaccine in the press release. “This goal has not changed, but the requirements to efficiently deal with the virus and its emerging variants have changed.” The decision to focus on the second-generation mRNA candidate vaccine reflects “anticipated changes in public health needs that our second-generation may be able to address,” it said.
The COVID collaboration between CureVac and GSK builds on an existing mRNA technology partnership that both companies entered into in July 2020. The joint development focuses on improved second-generation mRNA vaccines, which can target different COVID-19 variants, target different diseases in a combination dose and provide better forms of vaccinations.