TÜBINGEN, Germany, February 18, 2016 – CureVac AG, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the field of mRNA-based technology, today announced that the World Health Organization (WHO) has approved “MERAN” as a suffix for mRNA drug substances. CureVac initiated the process by sending the proposal with suggestions for the novel nomenclature to the WHO, whose expert advisory panel selected the suffix “MERAN” to indicate “messenger RNA.”
The application for a new substance class was submitted by CureVac in connection with the clinical development of the company’s mRNA-based, first-in-man prophylactic vaccine against rabies. In discussions with the WHO, CureVac demonstrated that all mRNA vaccines in its pipeline belong to the same class, and thus constitute a new group of pharmacologically related substances, which is a further requirement to justify the introduction of a new nomenclature. Since CureVac’s prophylactic vaccines are not classified as gene therapy products, it became obvious that they are not related to the gene therapy suffix “GEN.” This was a compelling reason to create a new suffix for this substance class. The drug substance of CureVac’s rabies vaccine, which is currently being tested in a clinical phase I trial, is now officially listed as “NADORAMERAN.”
Ingmar Hoerr, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of CureVac, said: “To earn a new name for this novel class of medicine, which is showing increasing potential for multiple indications, is a great accomplishment for CureVac and the mRNA industry. It clearly reflects the progress of the fast-moving field of mRNA-based therapeutics. We look forward to reaching additional milestones on the way to bringing mRNA-based drugs to market.”
This makes CureVac the first company to ever successfully apply for an INN (International Nonproprietary Name) concerning mRNA therapeutics.
About International Nonproprietary Names (INN)
International Nonproprietary Names (INN, also known as generic names) facilitate the identification of pharmaceutical substances or active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Each INN is a unique name that is globally recognized and is public property. The purpose of defining new substance classes is to inform pharmacists and medical doctors around the globe about the substances contained in a preparation. Therefore, the nomenclature has to be precise. By defining the prefix, infix, and suffix of an INN, one can determine the indication and mechanism of action of each preparation.