Germany CureVac has partnered with the country’s largest pharmaceutical company, Bayer, to accelerate development and production of its Covid-19 vaccine.
The Tübingen-based company, whose vaccine uses technology similar to that developed by BioNTech and Moderna, said Thursday it has reached a collaboration and services agreement that will help it deliver several hundred million doses.
CureVac, the oldest of the trio of companies working on messenger RNA technology to develop vaccines, was among the first to announce that it was working on a product to fight the Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19.
But it has lagged far behind its competitors, both of which have already obtained clearances in the US and the EU.
So far, CureVac has said it will have the capacity to produce up to 300 million doses in 2021, and an additional 600 million doses in 2022 – far less than BioNTech / Pfizer, which plans to produce 1.3 billion of doses next year.
The company has already signed a deal with the EU to deliver up to 405 million doses of its two-course product, but has abandoned plans to deliver its vaccine to the United States, citing market saturation, despite reports. that the Trump administration was prosecuted last March. .
In a statement, CureVac said it would remain the marketing authorization holder for its Covid-19 vaccine in the EU, while Bayer would have the option of becoming the holder elsewhere.
Stefan Oelrich, Head of the Pharmaceuticals Division at Bayer, said: “We are strongly committed to making our capacities and networks available to help end this pandemic.”
Although no financial details of the deal were disclosed, CureVac said Bayer would provide expertise in “clinical operations, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, medical information, supply chain performance as well. that support in some countries ”.
CureVac began its large-scale Phase 3 trial last month, which includes more than 35,000 participants aged 18 and over in Europe and Latin America.
CureVac’s vaccine has some advantages over those of its mRNA rivals. The company says its product can remain stable for three months at normal refrigerator temperatures, making it easier to transport to countries without a full cold chain infrastructure.
Additionally, CureVac is testing a dose of 12 micrograms, which is less than half the size of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine, which requires 30 micrograms per dose. The smaller dose might make it easier to send larger amounts of shot.
Shares of CureVac, which went public on the Nasdaq last August, rose 1% to $ 86.85 pre-trade in New York City, while Bayer’s stock rose 2% to 52 , 71 € on the German Dax in mid-morning Thursday in Frankfurt.