$34M biotech deal aims to speed vaccine development before next pandemic

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A coalition aiming to prepare for the next pandemic reached a $34 million deal with German biotech company CureVac to develop vaccine printing technology that may be able to quickly produce shots against several diseases, according to Reuters.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations said its backing will help CureVac advance a prototype of its RNA Printer product — an automated printing facility for types of a molecule called messenger RNA.

Although traditional vaccines use parts of live or inactivated pathogens to create an immune response, new technology uses the mRNA molecule to transport genetic information from the DNA into a cell, instructing it to generate a specific protein or antigen to induce an immune response.

The coalition, launched in 2017, aims to significantly speed up the development of vaccines against these pathogens, as well as new and unknown diseases.

CureVac will use its mRNA platform to develop potential vaccines against Lassa fever, rabies and yellow fever under its three-year deal with the coalition.

Two of the vaccine candidates will be developed through early stage safety trials in people if preclinical tests for the three diseases are successful.

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