[Ip-health] European Commission: German company wins EU's EURO 2 million inducement prize for innovative vaccine technology

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Mar 10 10:36:52 PDT 2014

German company wins EU's EURO 2 million inducement prize for innovative vaccine

European Commission - IP/14/229   10/03/2014

Other available languages:

German company wins EU's EURO 2 million inducement prize for innovative vaccine

German biopharmaceutical company CureVac GmbH <http://www.curevac.com/> has
won the EU's first ever innovation inducement prize. The company received
the prize for progress towards a novel technology to bring life-saving
vaccines to people across the planet in safe and affordable ways. The
European Commission offered the EURO 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(R) 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.

The prize jury highlighted the potential of this technology to achieve
large global health benefits, given that it may be applied to many diseases
and a number of vaccines, might allow the formulating of a combination of
vaccines, and could allow the production of many vaccine units in a single

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 and encouraged to continue
developing their technologies.

This is the first time the Commission has offered a so-called inducement
prize to stimulate research and innovation in the European Union. An
inducement prize sets an ambitious goal, but it does not say how that goal
should be achieved or specifically who should achieve it. The use of prizes
as a mechanism to induce innovation has a long history. Things we now take
for granted such as transatlantic flights, tinned food and navigation at
sea were all encouraged by competitions to win prizes. Building on the
first success, more inducement prizes are planned in 2015 under Horizon
2020, the EU's 2014-20 research and innovation programme.


Most Europeans are protected from infectious diseases such as hepatitis B
and measles thanks to simple vaccinations. But many people in tropical and
developing countries cannot benefit from these great achievements of
medicine. Vaccines are often rendered ineffective by temperature variations
in these regions during transport and storage, long before they can be
administered, because for most vaccines, the doses must be kept at a
constant and cool temperature. The World Health Organization estimates that
half of all supplied vaccine doses are wasted, mostly due to an inadequate
"cold chain" to protect them before use.

The European Commission offered the EURO 2 million vaccine prize for
innovations to any legal entities in the EU or in a country associated with
the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme. No particular approach was
prescribed and competitors were invited to convince the jury that their
solution could respond best to the competition criteria, including
alternative ways of formulating, preserving or transporting vaccines.

The prize competition opened in April 2012 and attracted registrations of
interest from 49 competitors from a variety of countries. A total of 12
proposals were received by the submission deadline in early September 2013.
They were judged by an independent jury composed of nine leading experts in
vaccine research and development, regulation, use, formulation and
preservation. Following discussion, the jury recommended to the Commission
that the 'CureVac mRNA' proposal should win the prize.

More information:

Vaccine prize webpage (including competition rules and jury members):


CureVac GmbH:


Memo on 'EU vaccine research' (including a list of EU-funded projects)

MEMO/14/169 <http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-169_en.htm>

Contacts :

Michael Jennings <michael.jennings at ec.europa.eu> (+32 2 296 33 88) Twitter:
@ECSpokesScience <https://twitter.com/ECspokesScience>

Inmaculada Martinez Garcia <inmaculada.martinez-garcia at ec.europa.eu> (+32 2
298 73 03)

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