CureVac launches 'RNA Printer' subsidiary to provide clients with flexible mRNA manufacturing

CureVac, a German biotech, formed a new subsidiary centered on the company’s RNA Printer technology that integrates and automates the manufacturing process for RNA vaccines and therapeutics.

CureVac RNA Printer GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of CureVac, launched this week to provide services for clients and to further develop the tech as an end-to-end solution. The RNA printer has moved from the prototype stage to a fully functional facility located at CureVac's headquarters in Tübingen, Germany, the company notes.

The site is in the process of getting manufacturing licenses and certifications to manufacture material for human use, a company spokesperson told FiercePharma.

When commercially available, the technology will be tailored to a client’s specific needs and be staged at a customer's own site. Depending on the focus, the printer can be set up for individualized therapeutic cancer vaccines to be produced on demand, or to support the production of a pandemic vaccine, the spokesperson said.

Markus Bergmann, M.D. is the general manager of the new entity; he joined from ZF Group where he held a several different management positions. 

RELATED: mRNA latecomer CureVac recruits Bayer to speed COVID-19 vaccine to market

CureVac’s aim is to open up access to mRNA technology in order to speed the manufacturing process for mRNA-based vaccines for any future pandemics and to target advanced and personalized mRNA-based therapies in oncology.

The COVID-19 pandemic proved the merits of mRNA technology, with Moderna and the Pfizer, BioNTech collaboration quickly rolling out successful mRNA-based vaccines on a global scale.

“We are convinced that the global mRNA pipeline will grow strongly over the next decade,” Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, CureVac’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Providing access to flexible GMP manu­facturing solutions is expected to be a game-changer for the speed with which new mRNA products can be advanced from lab to clinic.”

RELATED: Bayer, CureVac part ways on COVID-19 vaccine: reports

CureVac had hoped to replicate the success of other mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, however, the biotech abandoned its first-generation COVID shot in October following disappointing phase 3 clinical trial results showed vaccine efficacy of just 48%. 

Bayer, which had previously said it was looking at a production run of 160 million doses of the CureVac vaccine in 2022, later exited its CureVac collaboration.

CureVac had dropped manufacturing deals with Wacker and Celonic in September because of the phase 3 trial results in what the company called a decision to reduce its European manufacturing footprint. At the time, CureVac said the cancellations wouldn’t impact its agreements with Rentschler Biopharma or Novartis for the production and formulation of mRNA.