Trend Setting: CureVac Advances Its Proprietary RNA Printer
CureVac N.V., a global mRNA vaccine producer has established a new company, CureVac RNA Printer GmbH, as a platform and services company dedicated solely to CureVac’s The RNA Printer. The RNA Printer is the company’s proprietary solution to automating the manufacture of GMP-grade mRNA vaccines and therapies. CureVac RNA Printer GmbH will dedicate its entire operational design to further developing The RNA Printer, which was designed in collaboration with Tesla Automation to automatically execute standardized steps for manufacturing mRNA vaccines. The company will facilitate broad access to mRNA technology and will ensure the technology enables rapid mRNA product developments for quick and steady supply of vaccines in pandemic situations as well as better patient access to personalized mRNA-based oncology therapies.
“The successful implementation of mRNA vaccines to address the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the tremendous potential of this technology. We are convinced that the global mRNA pipeline will grow strongly over the next decade,” Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, Chief Executive Officer of CureVac, said in a statement. “Providing access to flexible GMP manufacturing solutions is expected to be a game changer for the speed with which new mRNA products can be advanced from lab to clinic.”
Dr. Markus Bergmann has joined CureVac as the CureVac RNA Printer GmbH General Manager.
Therapeutic Talk: RNA Delivery Revolutionized with Inspiration from Turtles
The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines brought about a therapeutic revolution in which drugmakers were able to deliver nucleic acid therapies, which are usually degraded rapidly once in the body, directly to target proteins in our immune system. While nucleic acid-based medications are a staple to many treatments, it is difficult to deliver these therapies without injection. For several years, MIT researchers Dr. Giovanni Traverso and Professor Robert Langer have been studying easier methods of nucleic drug delivery to the digestive tract, discovering a novel way to deliver these therapies orally.
In 2019, the researchers developed an oral capsule injection system known as the Self-Orienting Millimeter-Scale Actuator (SOMSA), which was inspired by a turtle with a shell shape that allows it to orient itself even when knocked on its back. The capsule, designed to be swallowed, contains liquid monoclonal antibodies protected from degradation by the body. Its ovular shape forces its bottom half to consistently adhere to the cells of the stomach. It is this area of the SOMSA that contains the RNA nanoparticle injection system that delivers the nucleic acid medication directly into the cell it is designed to adhere to.
In a new study, the capsule proved successful in delivering up to 150 micrograms of RNA to the gastrointestinal tracts of pigs, as explained in a Matter journal publication. The next steps for replacing injection delivery of RNA will have to assess the efficacy of the system in disease models and the immune response to antigens delivered in the gastrointestinal tract.
DC Dispatch: New FDA Commissioner Takes the Rein
Robert Califf, MD, the Biden administration’s nominee, has taken over as the new Commissioner of the FDA. A former FDA Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Medical Products and Tobacco, Dr. Califf is positioned to lead the administration through the next phase of the pandemic response. The Senate trusts the new commissioner to build a more agile and prepared agency in other pressing issues as well, such as youth tobacco use, antimicrobial resistance, health equity, and clinical trial diversity.