GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and CureVac have entered into a new €150m collaboration to develop new generation mRNA vaccines for Covid-19.

The collaboration aims to research, develop, and manufacture several novel mRNA vaccine candidates, with multi-valent and monovalent approaches to address potential new variants emerging in the future.

Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will undertake the responsibility for securing marketing authorisation for the next-generation vaccine, except in Switzerland.

The company will hold exclusive rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialise the new vaccine in all countries, except in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In exchange, GSK will make an upfront payment of €75m along with an additional €75m as milestone payments, subject to achievement of specific milestones.

The development programme is anticipated to commence immediately, and the roll-out of vaccines is planned for 2022, subject to regulatory approval.

GSK chief executive officer Emma Walmsley said: “We believe that next-generation vaccines will be crucial in the continued fight against Covid-19.

“This new collaboration builds on our existing relationship with CureVac and means that together, we will combine our scientific expertise in mRNA and vaccine development to advance and accelerate the development of new Covid-19 vaccine candidates.

“At the same time, we will also support the production of CureVac’s first-generation vaccines with the manufacture of 100 million doses in 2021.”

The collaboration builds on GSK’s previous partnership with CureVac for its first-generation Covid-19 vaccine candidate CVnCoV, which is currently in Phase 2b/3 clinical trial.

As part of the new collaboration, GSK will support the manufacture of up to 100 million doses of CureVac’s first-generation Covid-19 vaccine candidate CVnCoV, which is currently under Phase 2b/3 trials.

The company will support vaccine production through its established manufacturing network in Belgium and deliver this year.

CureVac has capabilities to optimise mRNA for a strong immune response, manufacturability, and stability at standard 2°-8°C cold chain conditions for vaccines.

Its platform is uniquely adapted to designing multi-valent vaccines with a balanced immune response and a low dose of mRNA.

CureVac chief executive officer Franz-Werner Haas said: “We are very pleased to build on our existing relationship with GSK with a new agreement to jointly develop next-generation mRNA-based vaccines, in addition to our current candidate CVnCoV.

“With the help of GSK’s proven vaccine expertise, we are equipping ourselves to tackle future health challenges with novel vaccines.”