Lilly in Cancer Vaccine Pact Worth up to $1.7 Billion

By Akia Thorpe -

October 19, 2017

Eli Lilly and Company and CureVac, a Tübingen, Germany-headquartered clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid)-based drug development, have partnered to develop cancer vaccine products in a deal worth up to $1.7 billion.

The companies plan to develop and commercialize up to five potential cancer vaccine products based on CureVac's proprietary RNActive technology, a tool for the production of vaccines on the basis of mRNA. CureVac's technology will be used to deliver mRNA that directs the human immune system to target the encoded neoantigens. These tumor-specific neoantigens instruct the patient's existing immune system to mount a selective response to eradicate the cancer, according to Lilly.

Under the agreement, CureVac will receive an upfront payment from Lilly of $50 million and an equity investment of EUR 45 million ($53 million). CureVac is also eligible to receive more than $1.7 billion in development and commercialization milestones if all five vaccines are successfully developed, plus tiered royalties on product sales. Lilly is responsible for target identification, clinical development, and commercialization. CureVac will be responsible for mRNA design, formulation, and manufacturing of clinical supply and retains the option to co-promote the vaccine products in Germany.

This transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions.

Source: Eli Lilly and Company