CureVac, a biopharmaceutical maker focused on mRNA-based drugs, was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its manufacturing process for producing RNA.
The company said it is the first in its field to get a patent for the entire manufacturing process of in vitro transcribed RNA. The patent covers processes for the in vitro transcription of template DNA including proprietary quality control steps for producing purified RNA.
The company's technology works by delivering antigen-encoding mRNA molecules to the body to induce both cellular and humoral immune responses.
“Our highest priority has always been to create ultra-pure mRNA at the lowest cost of goods,” Ingmar Hoerr, CureVac’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Based on our extensive know-how and IP, we are currently building our industrial-scale production facility designed to produce up to 30 million doses of RNA-based therapeutics per year.”
In February, CureVac received two new grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation had previously given the company a $52 million equity investment.
CureVac has been working on developing a seasonal flu vaccine using its technology. Dubbed CV7302, the flu shot is slated to enter human testing this year. The Gates grant, however, is focused on a universal flu vaccine.
The Germany-based company is also eying a potential $1.8 billion deal with Eli Lilly to develop five mRNA cancer vaccines, and it is collaborating with Boehringer Ingelheim in non-small cell lung cancer.