GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the world’s largest vaccine-maker, is to buy a 10% stake in German biotech company CureVac for £130 million.
The price of the stake suggests a valuation of more than $1.6 billion for CureVac as it prepares for a stock market listing later this year.
The deal is seen by analysts as a bet on new technologies already being used in potential COVID-19 vaccines.
The GSK transaction also makes CureVac eligible for milestone payments of up to £606 million and tiered royalties on sales.
The companies said they will combine their mRNA expertise on development opportunities across a range of infectious disease pathogens, “selected with the potential to best leverage the advantages of this platform technology, while addressing significant unmet medical need and economic burden.”
CureVac’s existing COVID-19 mRNA and rabies vaccines research programmes are not included in the collaboration.
Roger Connor, President GSK Vaccines, said: “GSK’s self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine technology has shown us the potential of mRNA technology to advance the science of vaccine development, and CureVac’s experience complements our own expertise.
“Through the application of mRNA technology, including SAM, we hope to be able to develop and scale up advanced vaccines and therapies to treat and prevent infectious diseases quicker than ever before.”
Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, acting Chief Executive Officer of CureVac, added: “With this collaboration, we are gaining a world-class partner whose expertise and global footprint will allow us to further develop and translate the value of our platform into potential products for the world.”
Under the terms of the deal, GSK will make an equity investment in CureVac of £130m (€150m), a 10% stake, an upfront cash payment of £104m (€120m) and a one-time reimbursable payment of £26m (€30m) “for manufacturing capacity reservation, upon certification of CureVac’s commercial scale manufacturing facility currently under construction in Germany.”
CureVac will be eligible to receive “development and regulatory milestone payments of up to £277m (€320m), commercial milestone payments of up to £329m (€380m) and tiered royalties on product sales.”