CureVac to drop Covid vaccine candidate and focus on next-gen shot

Company’s shares plunged almost 14% in afternoon trading, hitting their lowest since listing last August

Firm to focus on collaborating with GSK to develop second-generation mRNA vaccine technology. Photograph: Theo Rouby/AFP

Firm to focus on collaborating with GSK to develop second-generation mRNA vaccine technology. Photograph: Theo Rouby/AFP

 

CureVac will withdraw its first-generation Covid-19 vaccine candidate and focus on collaborating with GSK to develop second-generation mRNA vaccine technology instead, the Germany-based biotechnology company said on Tuesday.

The company’s shares plunged almost 14 per cent in afternoon trading, hitting their lowest since listing last August.

The company said it will drop its application to the European Medicines Agency for regulatory approval of its first-generation vaccine candidate CVnCoV after late-stage trials delivered disappointing results with 47 per cent efficacy in June.

There would be a potential overlap with approval timelines for a second-generation candidate.

The earliest potential approval of CVnCoV would have come in the second quarter of 2022 when the candidates from the second-generation vaccine program are expected to progress to late-stage clinical development by that time, CureVac said.

As a result, the advance purchase agreement the German company signed to sell shots to the European Union will end, it said.

It said it expects to start human trials for its second-generation shot in the next months, aiming for regulatory approval in 2022. Results from early-stage animal trials have shown the strong potential of the shot compared with the original one, it said. – Reuters