CSL secures rights to late-stage mRNA COVID-19 vaccine

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CSL has announced that its vaccine-focussed subsidiary, CSL Seqirus, has entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Arcturus Therapeutics to access its late-stage self-amplifying mRNA platform technology.

US-based Arcturus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ARCT) is currently developing next-generation mRNA vaccines, including a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that recently reported results from a large Phase 3 vaccine efficacy study, meeting its primary and secondary endpoints of prevention of infection and severe disease with a favourable safety and tolerability profile.

“This collaboration is an exciting opportunity to complement CSL’s own next-generation mRNA program with a partner who developed a platform to deliver late-stage clinical supplies at scale. These combined capabilities will accelerate our journey in mRNA,” said CSL chief operating officer Paul McKenzie.

Steve Marlow, CSL Seqirus general manager, added, “Importantly, it is another step towards our long-term aim to advance public health by developing and commercialising enhanced vaccines for influenza and multi-pathogen pandemic preparedness.

"The collaboration also provides a pathway to offer a COVID-19 booster, providing another differentiated option to healthcare providers and governments around the world.”

Under the agreement, CSL will have the exclusive licence to Arcturus’ next-generation mRNA technology in the fields of influenza, COVID-19, and other respiratory viral diseases, and a non-exclusive license in the multi-pathogen pandemic preparedness field with the right to turn exclusive.

Arcturus will receive an upfront payment of US$200 million and will be eligible to receive further payments dependent upon the achievement of certain development and commercial milestones along with royalties and profit sharing on future product sales.

CSL’s head of R&D and chief medical officer, Dr Bill Mezzanotte, said, “This collaboration on next-generation mRNA is another example of CSL’s relentless pursuit of disruptive innovation when public health and patients can benefit. We look forward to working with Arcturus to shape the future therapeutic landscape of influenza vaccines and also using this exciting scientific and strategic platform to develop and commercialise vaccines for other seasonal and pandemic respiratory viruses with high unmet need.”