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Australia’s CSL in mRNA vaccine licensing deal with U.S.-based Arcturus

Nov 2 (Reuters) – Australia’s CSL Ltd. (CSL.AX) said on Wednesday it had struck a licensing deal with Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc. (ARCT.O) that would help it gain access to the U.S. drug developer’s messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology.

The biopharmaceutical firm said it would pay Arcturus $200 million upfront in return for an exclusive license to its next generation mRNA technology to develop vaccines for influenza, COVID-19, and other respiratory viral diseases.

Arcturus said in a separate statement it was eligible to receive more than $4.3 billion in potential payments if certain development and commercial milestones were met, along with a 40% net profit share for COVID-19 vaccine products.

The U.S. company can also earn up to double-digit royalties for vaccines against flu, pandemic preparedness and three other respiratory pathogens, it said.

“This collaboration is an exciting opportunity to complement CSL’s own next generation mRNA program with a partner who developed a platform to deliver late stage clinical supplies at scale,” CSL Chief Operating Officer Paul McKenzie said.

Arcturus reported in April that its mRNA COVID vaccine was 95% effective in preventing severe disease. New clinical data in August showed its booster vaccine was durable against Omicron variants, including BA.5.

Pfizer (PFE.N) and Moderna (MRNA.O) have so far established market dominance by using mRNA-based COVID vaccine technology. CSL’s vaccine business has also grown during this time, though its latest annual earnings were hit by declining donations of blood plasma. read more

Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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