26.11.2012 - Immunologists from Germany prove that messenger RNA vaccines work in mice, ferrets and pigs. Translation to humans would speed up flu control.
The idea sounds compelling: Instead of injecting peptide parts or complete proteins to trigger immune reactions, future vaccines could consist of messenger RNA molecules. Scientists from the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut and the biotech enterprise CureVac GmbH (both from Tübingen, Germany) as well as from a branch of Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut on an island in the Baltic Sea near Greifswald, showed that immunisation with mRNA works thus far in mice, ferrets and pigs. The corresponding study was published online on 25 November by Nature Biotechnology. Lead author Lothar Stitz from Greifwald and colleagues report that the resulting immune responses were similar or even stronger than those provoked by commercially available vaccines.
Producing conventional vaccines is a time-consuming process. If Stitz’ approach also works in humans, flu vaccines could be designed and made within weeks instead of months. Hence, pandemics could be brought under control much more easily. What is more, mRNA vaccines in general are characterised by superior stabilities at high temperatures and by improved efficacy in young and old mice. These features could make a difference as it is mostly the elderly and children who suffer most from flu casualties.
The results strengthen German Curevac GmbH, the manufacturer of mRNA-coded antigens. Only in September, the biotech set a German record by closing the biggest financing round of a German biotech ever (€80m).
27.04.2016 More revenue, more jobs, more financing, more R&D expenditure – all signs point towards sustainable growth in the German biotech sector. These are the results of the most recent company survey 2016, published by biotechnologie.de. The report was once again conducted alongside the biotech standards defined by the organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD).
21.04.2016 An expert panel’s final report on the fatal drug trial earlier this year in France states that the death of one of the participants was most likely caused by the drug’s toxicity and not by any violation of the rules.
21.04.2016 For up to US$685m (€606m), Dutch ArgenX has outlicensed its human antibody programme ARGX-115 to AbbVie. The pre-clinical immuno-oncology candidate targets a protein believed to contribute to immunosuppressive effects of T-cells.
19.04.2016 British drug developer Heptares Therapeutics and mAb maker Kymab Ltd have partnered up in yet another immuno-oncology collaboration. The companies plan to discover antibody meds targeting a superfamily of receptors.
15.04.2016 Not every company is put off by the current stock market climate. Swiss biopharma company GeNeuro has gone public at Euronext Paris, raising €33m in the process. Others, meanwhile, have to find different ways to raise money.
13.04.2016 Despite political disturbances, 2015 was a good year for the biotech scene in Switzerland. Net sales increased by 5.1% to CHF5,133m and 400 additional people found jobs in the sector. As usual, the new numbers were presented at the annual Swiss Biotech Day – which set new records as well.
12.04.2016 German-Dutch life science investment specialist Forbion Capital Partners has raised more than €180m for its venture capital fund Forbion Capital Fund III. Once more the money will primarily go to European start-ups.
08.04.2016 Do you win by being innovative?, was the question asked at this year’s DIA Euromeeting in Hamburg. In a relaxed and cooperative atmosphere, regulators, physicians and patients had ample opportunity to interact with the healthcare industry.
07.04.2016 Pfizer and Allergan have called off their merger, cancelling plans to relocate the US pharma giant to Ireland to avoid US taxation. The US government has put a spoke in Pfizer’s wheels - an unfair move, Allergan says.