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CureVac and Arcturus Therapeutics Announce Broad Strategic Collaboration to Advance Next Generation of Lipid-Mediated mRNA Therapeutics

CureVac AG, a leading clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of pioneering mRNA therapeutics, and Arcturus Therapeutics Ltd. (NASDAQ:ARCT), an RNA medicines company, today announced they have entered into a broad strategic collaboration to jointly discover, develop and commercialize novel messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics.

Under the agreement, the companies will collaborate to develop up to four molecular therapy products for rare diseases using Curevac’s optimized natural mRNA sequence (RNAoptimizer®) and Arcturus’s lipid-mediated nucleic acid delivery system (LUNAR™). The agreement focuses on developing mRNA therapeutics for enzyme replacement and antibody generation. Development costs will be shared between the companies, with plans to co-commercialize products in the future under a profit sharing arrangement. The first mRNA therapy to be jointly developed and potentially commercialized by the companies will target ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, a genetic disease characterized by the accumulation of ammonia in the blood. The collaboration also grants CureVac access to the full suite of Arcturus’s lipid-mediated delivery intellectual property to enable the development of additional mRNA product candidates.

“This collaboration for up to four products establishes a sound relationship with Arcturus, which we believe is one of the leaders in developing lipid-mediated delivery systems for mRNA molecules,” said Ingmar Hoerr, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of CureVac. “Just as important, we are excited to have secured access to Arcturus’s leading intellectual property rights for future product development in molecular therapies. This partnership combines both companies’ technology platforms with the expertise necessary to develop the next generation of therapeutics based on the considerable potential of mRNA.”

“We are thrilled to combine Arcturus’s platform technologies and expertise with CureVac’s recognized capabilities in mRNA construct optimization and GMP manufacturing to co-develop messenger RNA medicines for patients in need,” said Joseph Payne, President and CEO of Arcturus. “We believe our collaboration with CureVac has the potential to help reduce costs, mitigate manufacturing risks, and accelerate our timelines for ushering quality mRNA medicines into the clinic.”

Glossary

  • A gene is a hereditary unit which has effects on the traits and thus on the phenotype of an organism. Part on the DNA which contains genetic information for the synthesis of a protein or functional RNA (e.g. tRNA).
  • The genome is entire genetic material of an organism. Each cell of an organism contains the entire genetic material in its nucleus.
  • Oligo is a greec prefix denoting ‚little’, e.g. oligonucleotide.
  • An oligomer is a short stretch of monomers.
  • Ribonucleic acid (abbr. RNA) is a normally single-stranded nucleic acid, which is very similar to DNA. It also consists of a sugar-phosphate backbone and a sequence of four bases. However, the sugar is a ribose and instead of thymine, RNA contains uracil. RNA has got various forms and functions; e.g. it serves as template during protein synthesis and it also constitutes the genome of RNA viruses.
  • Genetic sequences are successions of the bases adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine on the DNA (or uracil instead of thymine in the case of RNA).
  • A vaccine is a preparation of dead or weakened pathogens (or of derived antigenic determinants) used to induce immunity against the pathogen.
  • A virus is an infectious particle (no cell!) consisting of a protein envelope and a genome (DNA or RNA). To be able to reproduce it depends entirely on the metabolism of living cells of host organisms (e.g., bacteria for phages, liver cells for Hepatitis A-virus).
  • Biopharmaka are Drugs, which are produced with the help of biological systems.
  • Computer tomography (CT) is a imaging technique to display the structures within the body. Therefore, radiograms are taken from different directions and are analysed by a computer to get a three-dimensional image.
  • Good Manufacturing Practise.
  • Hepatitis implies injury to liver characterised by presence of inflammatory cells in the liver tissue. It starts with non specific flu-like symptoms as muscle and joint aches, fever, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, and headache. More specific symptoms are profound loss of appetite, yellowing of the eyes and skin (i.e. jaundice) and abdominal discomfort. A group of viruses, known as the hepatitis viruses cause most cases of liver damage worldwide (Type A, B, C, D and E). Hepatitis can also be due to toxins (notably alcohol), other infections or from autoimmune process.
  • Messenger RNA (abbr.: mRNA) is a ribonucleic acid which is a copy of a short part of the DNA and serves as template for the synthesis of a specific protein.
  • Biomolecules which can bind active agents are called targets. They can be receptors, enzymes or ion channels. If agent and target interact with each other the term agent-target-specific effect is used. The identification of targets is very important in biomedical and pharmaceutical research because a specific interaction can help to understand basic biomolecular processes. This is essential to identify new points of application.

About CureVac AG

CureVac is a leading company in the field of messenger RNA (mRNA) technology with more than 17 years’ expertise in handling and optimizing this versatile molecule for medical purposes. The principle of CureVac's proprietary technology is the use of mRNA as a data carrier to instruct the human body to produce its own proteins capable of fighting a wide range of diseases. The company applies its technologies for the development of cancer therapies, prophylactic vaccines and molecular therapies.
To date, CureVac has received approximately $370 million (€355 million) in equity investments including significant investments from SAP founder Dietmar Hopp’s dievini and an investment of $52 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. CureVac has also entered into collaborations with multinational corporations and organizations, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi Pasteur, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and IAVI.

About Arcturus Therapeutics Ltd.

Founded in 2013 and based in San Diego, Arcturus Therapeutics Ltd. (NASDAQ: ARCT) is an RNA medicines company with enabling technologies–UNA Oligomer chemistry and LUNAR™ lipid-mediated delivery. Arcturus’s diverse pipeline of RNA therapeutics includes programs pursuing rare diseases, Hepatitis B, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cysticfibrosis, and vaccines. Arcturus’s versatile RNA therapeutics platforms can be applied toward multiple types of RNA medicines including small interfering RNA, messenger RNA, replicon RNA, antisense RNA, microRNA and gene editing therapeutics. Arcturus owns LUNAR lipid-mediated delivery and Unlocked Nucleomonomer Agent (UNA) technology including UNA Oligomers, which are covered by its extensive patent portfolio (120 patents and patent applications, issued in the U.S., Europe, Japan, China and other countries). Arcturus’s proprietary UNA technology can be used to target individual genes in the human genome, as well as viral genes, and other species for therapeutic purposes. Arcturus’s commitment to the development of novel RNA therapeutics has led to partnerships with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, Inc., Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, Synthetic Genomics Inc., and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Inc.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” that involve substantial risks and uncertainties for purposes of the safe harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this press release regarding strategy, future operations, collaborations, prospects, plans and objectives of management are forward-looking statements. Examples of such statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the collaboration with CureVac having the potential to identify, develop or commercialize any potential product and to help reduce costs, mitigate manufacturing risks and accelerate clinical timelines; Arcturus’s future operations and its ability to successfully initiate and complete clinical trials; the nature, strategy and focus of Arcturus; the development and commercial potential and potential benefits of any product candidates of Arcturus; and the continuation or modification of collaborative arrangements. Arcturus may not actually achieve the plans, carry out the intentions or meet the expectations or projections disclosed in the forward-looking statements and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results and performance could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of many factors, including without limitation, an inability to develop and market product candidates.

The forward-looking statements contained or implied in this press release are subject to other risks and uncertainties, including those discussed in Arcturus’s filings with the Securities and Exchange commission. Except as otherwise required by law, Arcturus disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they were made, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/curevac-and-arcturus-therapeutics-announce-broad-strategic-collaboration-to-advance-next-generation-of-lipid-mediated-mrna-thera/