Boehringer Ingelheim will develop and commercialize CureVac’s CV9202, an investigational mRNA vaccine that codes for six antigens overexpressed in lung cancer. This vaccine induces an immune response against tumor cells and has already been tested in initial clinical trials by CureVac, with results showing promising activity in generating specific immune responses in patients suffering from lung cancer.
The company will begin clinical trials of CV920 in combination with afatinib (an inhibitor of the receptor tyrosine kinases epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR] and erbB-2 [HER2]) for patients with advanced or metastatic epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and in combination with chemo-radiation therapy in patients with unresectable stage III NSCLC.
Afatinib is marketed in the U.S. as Gilotrif® for the first-line treatment of common types of EGFR-mutation positive metastatic NSCLC, and is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s oncology pipeline, which includes investigational drugs such as nintedanib in NSCLC and colorectal cancer, and volasertib in acute myeloid leukemia.
“At Boehringer Ingelheim we are proud of our commitment to help improve the treatment of cancers with a high medical need. In our collaboration with CureVac, we will investigate combining existing treatments with the approach of sustained activation of the immune system. With this we hope to be able to develop new treatments and further expand our broad pipeline in lung cancer,” Professor Klaus Dugi, Chief Medical Officer, Boehringer Ingelheim said in a company’s press release.
CureVac’s innovative technology is the first to use mRNA to stimulate a patient’s immune system to fight tumor cells.
Ingmar Hoerr, co-founder and CEO of CureVac GmbH added in the press release: “This collaboration is extremely relevant for CureVac because, as a biotech enterprise, we rely on collaboration with strong partners for the clinical development and commercialization of our compounds. Cancer immunotherapy represents one of the biggest innovations in cancer treatment of recent times and we are delighted to now be working with Boehringer Ingelheim. The out-licensing and clinical development of our promising therapeutic vaccine CV9202 represents the logical next step in developing this novel treatment for cancer patients, and the significant commitment from Boehringer Ingelheim underscores the relevance of the mRNA technology.”