CureVac/GSKAs CureVac (NSDQ:CVAC) awaits European authorization for its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, it is conducting preclinical research on a second-generation vaccine candidate known as CV2CoV, which it is developing with GSK

In a study involving rats, the new mRNA vaccine candidate yielded high levels of antigen and strong neutralizing antibody titers after the first vaccination. 

Tübingen, Germany–based CureVac also said the vaccine candidate led to high levels of antibodies against several variants of concern, including B.1.1.298, B.1.1.7 and B.1.351.

“To successfully fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the long term, we will need different vaccines, and we need to be able to respond effectively to emerging variants,” GSK Global Vaccines President Roger Connor said in a statement. 

CV2CoV uses a new mRNA platform than CureVac’s first COVID-19 vaccine candidate known as CVnCoV. The new platform intends to bolster intracellular mRNA stability and translation to yield more effective expression of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. 

The most prominent mRNA vaccines at present are those from Moderna (NSDQ:MRNA) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)/BioNTech (NSDQ:BNTX).

CureVac believes the new platform will enable the vaccine to generate a robust immune response at a low dose while also supporting multivalent vaccines targeting emerging COVID-19 variants. 

The company expects the first clinical trials to begin in the third quarter of the year.

GSK purchased a 10% ownership stake in CureVac last year.