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Eli Lilly, CureVac enter collaboration to develop cancer vaccines

Eli Lilly and Co. and CureVac AG entered a global collaboration to develop messenger RNA cancer vaccines.

The parties will develop and commercialize up to five potential cancer vaccine products based on CureVac's proprietary RNActive technology.

Under the deal, CureVac will receive an upfront payment of $50 million and an equity investment of €45 million. The company is also eligible to receive over $1.7 billion in milestone payments if all five vaccines are successfully developed, in addition to tiered royalties on sales.

Lilly is responsible for target identification, clinical development and commercialization, while CureVac will be responsible for messenger RNA design, formulation and manufacturing of clinical supply. CureVac also retains the option to co-promote the vaccine products in Germany.

The deal is subject to antitrust clearance and other customary closing conditions. Further, subject to the deal's closing, Lilly expects an acquired in-process research and development charge to earnings of about 3 cents per share.

CureVac's technology will be used to deliver messenger RNA that directs the immune system to target neoantigens. The tumor-specific neoantigens then instruct the immune system to mount an anti-cancer response, Lilly said in a news release.