Germany’s CureVac to begin clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine

Tübingen-based company becomes the second German-based biotechnology venture to win permission to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus

CureVac has become the second German biotechnology company to be given permission to proceed with clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, days after Berlin stepped in to stop the group falling into foreign hands.

The German regulator said the CureVac trial would be one of just 11 worldwide to be testing its vaccine on human beings.

In April, CureVac’s rival BioNTech received regulatory approval for human trials on its vaccine. Both companies specialise in mRNA technology, which can produce a vaccine faster than conventional methods. However, neither company has yet produced a marketable mRNA product.
Block foreign takeover

CureVac is a key player in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. It is majority-owned by Dietmar Hopp, founder of the enterprise application software provider SAP, and counts the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among its investors.

The German government this week announced plans to invest €300 million to secure a stake in the company in a bid to block a foreign takeover of the company, after it attracted interest from the Trump administration.

The Tübingen-based company intends to float on Nasdaq in July, according to a government document seen by the Financial Times.

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