(Reuters) - Boehringer Ingelheim is betting on a cancer vaccine to fight lung tumors after signing a deal worth up to $600 million with U.S.-based CureVac, despite recent disappointments with cancer vaccines from rival firms.
The unlisted German drugmaker said on Thursday it was investing 35 million euros ($45 million) upfront, with CureVac entitled to a further 430 million euros - plus royalties on any eventual sales - if the experimental project is a success.
The exclusive global license and development deal focuses on CureVac's therapeutic vaccine CV9202, which is in early clinical development.
Unlike preventative vaccines, therapeutic ones are designed for patients who already have a disease but scientists have so far struggled to make the technology work.
In April, GlaxoSmithKline threw in the towel on a lung cancer vaccine in late-stage development following poor results.
Boehringer will investigate CV9202 in at least two different settings, in combination with its drug afatinib and together with chemo-radiation therapy.
Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by David Clarke