At the moment it seems you can never have too many mRNA vaccine options, which could explain why Glaxosmithkline is now the proud owner of 10% of Curevac. In a deal worth £260m ($324m) upfront, Glaxo has paid £130m for an equity stake in the private German company, £104m to help fund development of mRNA vaccines and an additional £26m to secure future vaccine manufacturing capacity. This manufacturing capacity, which could reach four billion annual doses by 2022, might be one of the most attractive elements of deal, particularly since Glaxo is already working on its own mRNA vaccines and given that Curevac’s Covid-19 mRNA and rabies vaccine programmes are not included in today’s collaboration. Glaxo’s investment also indicates that the valuation of Curevac is rising, albeit slowly. A previous €300m ($343m) investment from the German government in June, securing it a 23% stake, valued Curevac at €1.3bn; today’s financing by Glaxo puts the company’s worth at €1.4bn ($1.6bn). The question will be what this means for Curevac’s IPO plans. Delaying until a positive result with its vaccine would secure it more money; equally, if the vaccine is a bust, the valuation will fall substantially.
|Selected mRNA vaccines in development for Covid-19|
|Moderna/NIAID||mRNA-1273||mRNA vaccine||45/45 volunteers producing strong neutralising antibody levels|
|Biontech/Pfizer||BNT162b1||mRNA (modRNA) vaccine||36/36 volunteers producing strong neutralising antibody levels|
|Biontech/Pfizer||BNT162a1, BNT162b2 & BNT162c2||mRNA (uRNA, modRNA & saRNA) vaccines||Phase 1 data due Jul 2020|
|Curevac||CVnCoV||mRNA vaccine||Phase 1 started Jun 2020|
|Translate Bio/Sanofi||?||mRNA vaccine||Phase 1 starting Q4 2020|
|Source: WHO list, EvaluatePharma & company statements.|