• Experts from Industry and Academia Discussed the Medical Potential of Messenger RNA (mRNA)

TÜBINGEN, Germany – November 5, 2013

The 1st International mRNA Health Conference in Tübingen on Oct. 23 and 24 brought together for the first time more than 150 attendees from leading international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and academic institutions. The attendees discussed in the two-day event the tremendous medical potential of mRNA for many therapeutic indications. The conference, hosted by the University of Tübingen, the University Hospital of Tübingen and CureVac, laid the foundation for the new biotechnological sector of mRNA-based therapeutics.

The five lecture sessions included 22 presentations about the principles and impact of mRNA as a therapeutic biomolecule, mRNA-based protein therapeutics and mRNA-based therapeutic vaccines in the field of oncology, infectious diseases and allergy, as well as presentations about production and regulatory aspects.

Two panel discussions brought experts from different fields together to discuss important topics regarding the formation of a new class of mRNA-based drugs. The first panel discussion, chaired by Friedrich von Bohlen, Ph.D., dievini Hopp Biotech, addressed the promises of mRNA as a new class of therapeutics and highlighted the safety aspects of mRNA, especially when compared to DNA, its flexibility and potential areas of applications.

A second panel discussion, chaired by Karl Josef Kallen, M.D., CureVac, gave attention to the importance of regulatory aspects and the classification of mRNA by regulatory authorities. An important theme echoed in this panel was the differentiation of mRNA when compared to DNA which should be reflected in the regulatory classification.

Recently, we and others have shown that by incorporating nucleotide modifications into therapeutic mRNA, rare as well as more prevalent diseases can be treated in respective mouse models,” said Michael Kormann, Ph.D., University Hospital of Tübingen and co-initiator of the conference. “This demonstrates the fascinating potential of modified mRNA delivery for the treatment of inherited diseases, especially for those in which no other treatment options are currently available.”

“The outstanding presentations at the 1st International mRNA Health Conference in Tübingen demonstrated the tremendous medical potential of mRNA for many different diseases,” said Ingmar Hoerr, chief executive officer and co-founder of CureVac, initiator of the conference. “Experts in the field gathered to discuss this revolutionary approach. This is a real historic moment.  For the first time many new contacts between pharma, biotech and academia have been established which may lead to fruitful collaborations to achieve a common purpose – providing patients with safe and effective treatment options for many debilitating diseases and developing safe and effective prophylactic vaccines.”

The conference has demonstrated the enormous interest and excitement of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry as well as the academic community in mRNA as an entirely new class of therapeutic molecule with wide-range applications. The organizers and attendees are looking forward to reunite next year at the 2nd International mRNA Health Conference to discuss new data and developments.

Please find more information about the program, speakers, panelists and sponsors under www.mrna-conference.com.

Presenters and panelists included representatives from BioNTech, CureVac, dievini, ethris, the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health Germany (FLI), Ghent University, HS LifeSciences, Moderna Therapeutics, Novartis, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI), Pfizer, PhaseRx, Sangamo BioSciences, Sanofi Pasteur, Shire, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, Twincore, University of Bonn, University of Brussels, University of Pennsylvania, University of Salzburg and University of Tübingen.

Sponsors of the conference were Thermo Fisher Scientific, TriLink, Tides Service Technology (TST) Group, New England Biolabs, Technologiepark Tübingen-Reutlingen and Kreissparkasse Tübingen. BioRegio Stern was promotion partner.

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