CureVac N.V. and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced a co-development and licensing agreement to develop novel mRNA-based cancer vaccines. The collaboration creates strong synergies between CureVac's unique end-to-end capabilities for cancer antigen discovery, mRNA design, and manufacturing and MD Anderson's expertise in cancer antigen discovery and validation, translational drug development, and clinical research. The collaboration will focus on the development of differentiated cancer vaccine candidates in selected hematological and solid tumor indications with high unmet medical need.

Both parties will contribute to the identification of differentiated cancer antigens based on whole genome sequencing, combined with long- and short-read RNA sequencing and cutting-edge bioinformatics. Joint preclinical validation of the highest-quality cancer antigens will be supported by Sachet Shukla, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Hematopoietic Biology & Malignancy and director of the department's cancer vaccine program, and by MD Anderson's ECLIPSE (Evolution of Cancer, Leukemia, and Immunity Post Stem cEll transplant) platform, part of the institution's Therapeutics Discovery division. Following selection of the most promising validated vaccine candidates and completion of Investigational New Drug (IND) approvals, MD Anderson will be responsible for conducting initial Phase 1/2 studies in appropriate clinical indications.

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, CureVac and MD Anderson will jointly contribute to and support development of those programs designated to move forward. CureVac has worldwide exclusive rights to late-stage development, commercialization, or partnering of the cancer vaccine candidates. MD Anderson is eligible for certain downstream payments based on potential future commercialization.