German biopharmaceutical company CureVac GmbH has won the EU’s first innovation inducement prize.
The European Commission offered the £2 million prize to encourage inventors to overcome one of the biggest barriers to using vaccines in developing countries, the need to keep them stable at any ambient temperature.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: “CureVac‘s success opens up the possibility of a real European breakthrough in the delivery of vaccines to areas where they are needed most. This technology could save lives – exactly the type of innovation an EU inducement prize should support.”
CureVac’s RNActive® vaccine technology is based on messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules that stimulate the immune system. It has the potential to allow the production of vaccines that are protected against both elevated temperature and inadvertent freezing.
It would be possible to rapidly produce these vaccines against almost any infectious disease, and deliver these to the most remote areas of the world. CureVac is currently running a number of clinical trials with these vaccines.
Two other proposals, ‘Surechill’ (The Sure Chill Company Ltd, United Kingdom) and ‘Freshwest’ (Freshpoint Quality Assurance Ltd., Israel and West Pharmaceutical Services Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, Germany) were congratulated by the jury for their applications.