Software magnate sinks $104M into vaccine research

CureVac, a biotech company pushing therapeutic cancer vaccines into Phase IIb studies, landed a cool $104 million from German multibillionaire Dietmar Hopp's investment group, dievini Hopp BioTech Holding.

CureVac will use the hefty sum to advance the development of its two lead RNActive cancer vaccines against prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The company will also use some of the funds to further develop its prophylactic vaccines and adjuvants for infectious diseases. The first task will be to run a Phase IIb study on prostate cancer vaccine CV9103, CureVac CEO Ingmar Hoerr told FierceBiotech.

To date, CureVac has raked in about €145 million ($189 million) in equity financing.

"Our technology is based on a major new understanding of the medical potential of mRNA, and our novel mRNA vaccines and RNA-based adjuvants may transform the treatment of many debilitating diseases, including prostate and lung cancer, as well as the prophylaxis of many infectious diseases," Hoerr said.

Last September, CureVac and Sanofi Pasteur inked a deal to develop and apply the RNActive technology platform to the development of vaccines against several infectious diseases. In another deal, the two companies--along with France's In Cell Art--undertook a $33 million DARPA research program to identify and create a universal vaccine technology platform for infectious diseases.

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