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by Stephan Bauer, Euro am Sonntag
Biontech and Pfizer have just filed for approval of their vaccine candidate in the EU. The US biotech company Moderna already did this on Monday: The competition is currently a big step ahead of the Swabian CureVac in the race for market access for corona vaccines.
When the nine-month figures were presented, head Franz-Werner Haas announced that the vaccine candidate CVnCOV will soon enter the final clinical phase, a mass test with 36,000 participants. Results are expected in early 2021. Late, but top quality – according to this motto, the boss extolled the advantages of the corona killer from Tbingen: The vaccine produced an immune reaction “similar to that after a natural infection,” said Haas. Above all, however, the candidate’s own CVnCOV can be stored for at least three months at refrigerator temperature. For comparison: The material from Mainz-based Biontech, which US giant Pfizer sells, needs a cooling chain of minus 70 degrees according to current data in order to work reliably.
In terms of business, CureVac is thus showing signs of success despite the delay. The EU has already signed a supply contract with the Tbingern and is purchasing 225 million cans with an option for a further 180 million pieces. Haas is building an integrated production network including contract manufacturers such as Wacker Chemie and aims to produce at least 300 million cans in 2021. In the following year it should be up to 600 million. In addition, the development of the vaccine based on mRNA technology is a first-class reference for other CureVac projects. A vaccine against rabies and an advanced cancer drug candidate based on mRNA are in the pipeline.
The Swabians do not lack capital. Contributions from SAP founder Dietmar Hopp and other investors as well as the proceeds from the IPO add up to almost 900 million euros in liquid funds that the company can use for development. A deposit from the EU will be added soon.
Since going public on the US technology exchange Nasdaq on August 14, the price of the biotech company has more than doubled. After the figures were presented, the share rose again. Because of higher research costs, CureVac showed a significantly higher minus in the third quarter of 36.8 million euros than in the previous year. However, the Brsians did not see this as an obstacle to entry, rather as a sign that activities in Tbingen are currently accelerating enormously.
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