CureVac, the German mRNA biotech, has added a couple of new investors to the mix who are chipping $29.5 million into the operation as it nears a critical juncture on the R&D side of the business.
The Tübingen-based biotech, which has been primarily backed by German billionaire Dietmar Hopp along with additional funding from Bill Gates’ foundation, says that Baden- Württembergische Versorgungsanstalt für Ärzte, Zahnärzte und Tierärzte (via the LBBW Asset Management Investmentgesellschaft mbH, Stuttgart) and Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg added the funds.
So far, CureVac has raised about $360 million, including its latest $110 million mega-round last fall. For just about any biotech, that would be a considerable amount — except for anyone looking to lead in mRNA.
The mRNA space has been dominated by Moderna, which has a raised a mountain of cash, $1.9 billion to date, to build up its manufacturing and field a slate of early-stage clinical products, determined to build a company and a pipeline ahead of the first round of mid-stage trial results.
CureVac, which is partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim and others, has taken a somewhat more traditional path. It has a 6-antigen cancer vaccine that should deliver mid-stage data on prostate cancer in early 2017, which will go a long way toward convincing skeptics they were either right or wrong about this company. And that makes it the most advanced mRNA company on either side of the Atlantic.
I talked with CureVac execs at BIO-Europe this week. They tell me that the company has 270 staffers and has been developing its own manufacturing operations as well as it gears up to head into late-stage development efforts. There’s a lot riding on the upcoming data.
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