Boehringer Ingelheim and CureVac jointly announce an exclusive global license and development collaboration. The new collaboration focuses on CureVac’s CV9202, a novel investigational therapeutic mRNA vaccine in early clinical development for the treatment of lung cancer. Boehringer Ingelheim will start clinical investigation of CV9202 in at least two different lung cancer settings, in combination with afatinib in patients with advanced or metastatic epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and in combination with chemo-radiation therapy in patients with unresectable Stage III NSCLC. CureVac receives 35 million euros (approximately $45 million). Further, CureVac can achieve milestone payments of up to EUR 430 million (approximately $556 million) and royalties on sales.
This new agreement is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term commitment to delivering tomorrow’s cancer therapies through the discovery of novel treatment options with high therapeutic value for patients. The company’s oncology portfolio includes afatinib, a once-daily kinase inhibitor that irreversibly binds and inhibits ErbB1, ErbB2 and ErbB4 receptors and is approved in a number of markets including the EU and US. In the United States, afatinib is marketed as Gilotrif for the first-line treatment of common types of EGFR-mutation positive metastatic NSCLC (Del 19 or L858R). Boehringer Ingelheim’s oncology pipeline covers a broad range of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies (blood cancer), including two investigational compounds in Phase 3 clinical development: nintedanib in NSCLC and colorectal cancer, and volasertib in acute myeloid leukemia. These compounds are not approved and their safety and efficacy have not been established.
“At Boehringer Ingelheim we are proud of our commitment to help improve the treatment of cancers with a high medical need. In our collaboration with CureVac, we will investigate combining existing treatments with the approach of sustained activation of the immune system. With this we hope to be able to develop new treatments and further expand our broad pipeline in lung cancer,” said Professor Klaus Dugi, chief medical officer, Boehringer Ingelheim.
CureVac’s mRNA-based technology represents a potential novel approach in cancer treatment. For the first time mRNA could be optimized to mobilize the patient’s own immune system to fight the tumor with a specific immune response elicited through the RNActive vaccine. Cancer immunotherapy has been chosen as the “Breakthrough of the Year 2013” by Science magazine. CV9202 is a combination of mRNA molecules coding for six antigens overexpressed in lung cancer, designed to induce an immune response against the tumor. CV9202 and the preceding RNActive cancer vaccine CV9201 tested in initial clinical trials by CureVac demonstrated activity in generating immune responses against all anti-tumor antigens.
Ingmar Hoerr, co-founder and CEO of CureVac GmbH, commented: “This collaboration is extremely relevant for CureVac because, as a biotech enterprise, we rely on collaboration with strong partners for the clinical development and commercialization of our compounds. Cancer immunotherapy represents one of the biggest innovations in cancer treatment of recent times and we are delighted to now be working with Boehringer Ingelheim. The out-licensing and clinical development of our promising therapeutic vaccine CV9202 represents the logical next step in developing this novel treatment for cancer patients and the significant commitment from Boehringer Ingelheim underscores the relevance of the mRNA technology.”
Date: September 18, 2014
Source: Boehringer Ingelheim