CureVac nixes lung cancer collab with Boehringer Ingelheim

Aug. 18, 2021

After seven years, CureVac has quietly ended a $600m collaboration with German biotech company, Boehringer Ingelheim.

The match-up started in 2014 — before CureVac had made a name for itself as a COVID-19 vaccine developer — and focused on the biotech’s therapeutic vaccine for lung cancer called CV9202.

But this week, the company tucked an announcement about the program ending into a financial report without providing much explanation. However, the report revealed in a brief statement that Boehringer expressed intentions of ending the collaboration in June. The company also hinted that since its inception, the program may have become outdated. 

“The legacy program, targeting specific immune responses against tumor-associated antigens frequently overexpressed in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), applies an older protamine formulation technology, which reflected the state of the technology development at the time," CureVac said in the statement.

CureVac had planned to combine their CV9202 vaccine with its Gilotrif (afatanib) for NSCLC, in addition to chemo/radiation therapy for inoperable stage III NSCLC. A phase 1/2 clinical trial in NSCLC using CV9202 as a combo therapy is still ongoing according to CureVac’s report.

Despite parting ways on the lung cancer vaccine, the companies said they are still interested in working together and collaborating on “CureVac’s RNA technology platform based on state-of-the-art LNP-based formulations.”