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Wednesday, 04 Mar, 2020

Duke-NUS News - Arcturus Therapeutics Partnership

Collaboration seeks to conduct pre-clinical testing followed by first-in-human clinical trials

San Diego and Singapore, March 04, 2020 -- Arcturus Therapeutics (the “Company”, NASDAQ: ARCT), a leading messenger RNA medicines company, and Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS), a research intensive, graduate entry medical school, today announced their partnership to develop a Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for Singapore. The development of a COVID-19 vaccine will be based on the Company’s STARR technology™ and will take advantage of a unique platform developed at Duke-NUS allowing rapid screening of vaccines for effectiveness and safety.

The STARR Technology™ platform combines self-replicating RNA with LUNAR®, a leading nanoparticle non-viral delivery system, to produce proteins inside the human body. Due to superior immune response and sustained protein expression, Arcturus’ STARR Technology™ is expected to produce a vaccine response at much lower doses compared to traditional mRNA vaccines. This could lead to the ability to treat many more people with a single GMP-manufactured production batch, thereby greatly increasing efficiency and reducing time required to produce sufficient quantities of vaccine for large populations.

“We have observed STARR technology in pre-clinical models to be effective at extraordinarily low doses -- greater than 30-fold more efficient than traditional mRNA. The Arcturus manufacturing process has been applied in multiple large GMP batches of highly pure RNA in our LUNAR-OTC program. If successful, Arcturus could develop a vaccine capable of vaccinating millions of people for a fraction of the cost of traditional mRNA vaccines,” said Joseph Payne, President & CEO of Arcturus Therapeutics.

“Duke-NUS has been on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, developing the first serological tests for COVID-19 and was among the first groups to isolate and culture the virus. The partnership with Arcturus Therapeutics combines complementary strengths as we work together to fight this global outbreak,” said Professor Thomas M. Coffman, Dean of Duke-NUS Medical School.

COVID-19 belongs to a family of coronaviruses that can cause serious respiratory disease. Arcturus plans to apply its STARR Technology™ toward the development of a vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The self-replicating RNA-based therapeutic vaccine triggers rapid and prolonged antigen expression within host cells resulting in protective immunity against infectious pathogens.

“There is a tremendous urgency to develop an effective prevention for the current Coronavirus crisis. The Duke-NUS and Arcturus partnership could expedite a solution to this urgent need as we utilize STARR Technology™ to bring a vaccine candidate for clinical testing in the shortest time possible,” said Professor Ooi Eng Eong, Deputy Director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases programme at Duke-NUS.

Arcturus’ Corporate Deck has been updated accordingly, and is available at

For more information and potential collaboration opportunities regarding Arcturus’ Coronavirus vaccine, please contact Arcturus by email at

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties for purposes of the safe harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements, other than statements of historical fact included in this press release, including those regarding strategy, future operations, collaborations, the likelihood of success of the Company’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine or other products, the status of preclinical and clinical development programs and the planned initiation of clinical trials are forward-looking statements. Arcturus may not actually achieve the plans, carry out the intentions or meet the expectations or projections disclosed in any forward-looking statements such as the foregoing and you should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, including those discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in Arcturus’ Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, filed with the SEC on March 18, 2019 and in subsequent filings with, or submissions to, the SEC. Except as otherwise required by law, Arcturus disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they were made, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.

For media enquiries, please contact Lekshmy Sreekumar, Duke-NUS Communications.