Janssen teams with CureVac to develop influenza vaccine

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Janssen teams with CureVac to develop influenza vaccine

Related tags: Immune system, Dna

Janssen has partnered with CureVac to use its messenger RNA (mRNA) platform to develop an influenza vaccine.

Last November, CureVac published data in the publication Nature Biotechnology​ showing its mRNA vaccines developed with its RNActive platform demonstrated immunogenicity and protection against the influenza virus in preclinical tests.

Now the Germany-based firm will use the technology with proprietary antigen sequences provided by Janssen subsidiary Crucell Holland, in a collaboration CureVac spokesperson Verena Lauterbach described as “the next logical step.”

She told Biopharma-Reporter.com: “We had very productive interactions with Crucell and are very happy to pursue with this exciting project together.”

“The project is combining each party's strength: Crucell will provide its proprietary target epitopes and CureVac will apply its RNActive technology to design, identify and develop the best vaccine candidates representing such epitopes.”

CureVac’s vaccines comprise of modified and formulated mRNA and, according to Lauterbach, lead to strong antigen expression, increased stability and enhanced immune-stimulatory activity. “Furthermore the RNActive technology allows a faster generation of vaccines than the conventional methods.”

Without activating the regulatory T Cells, CureVac’s vaccines avoid intra-tumoral immune suppression which hinders the effectiveness of many cancer immunotherapies. Instead, the company says, the mRNA is internalised by an active, endocytosis-mediated mechanism into the cells with the information encoded by the mRNA subsequently translated into the corresponding protein.

“CureVac is combining both the antigenic and adjuvant properties of mRNAs to develop novel and effective mRNA vaccines,”​ said Lauterbach.

Some of the benefits, she continued, include added safety as there is no risk of genomic integration and viral vector issues as with DNA compounds, and prolonged bioavailability as nearly all proteins can be displayed as endogenous proteins.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Related topics: Bio Developments, Cell lines

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