Berlin, Jan. 7, 2020 Pharmaceutical giant Bayer has joined forces with German firm CureVac to develop and supply a potential COVID-19 vaccine, the companies said.
CureVac, headquartered in the south-western city of Tuebingen, has long been working on its own vaccine.
Thursday’s announcement makes it the latest small German vaccine developer to team up with a market heavyweight, following on from BioNTech and U.S. company Pfizer, whose vaccine is already being administered in numerous countries following regulatory approvals.
Under the collaboration and services agreement, Germany’s Bayer will support CureVac in conducting clinical testing and establishing supply-chain infrastructure, statements from the companies said.
CureVac began phase 3 of its clinical testing on the experimental vaccine CVnCoV in mid-December, embarking on a key step towards regulatory approval.
The first results of these studies are expected in the first quarter of this year.
The European Commission has tentatively ordered 405 million doses of the CureVac drug.
CureVac chief executive Franz-Werner Haas said his company now has “another strong partner” on its side.
Under the agreement, CureVac would still be the marketing authorisation holder for the product if approved, while Bayer could be the holder in other markets outside of Europe.
Armin Laschet, premier of Bayer’s home state of North Rhine Westphalia and a possible contender to lead Merkel’s party in September elections, welcomed the partnership on Twitter.
“Another ray of light on the horizon. It’s good to have strong pharmaceutical companies in the country,” he wrote.
CureVac has more than 500 employees, according to its own count.
Almost a quarter of the company (23 per cent) belongs to Germany’s state development bank KfW, following a 300-million-euro (368-million-dollar) investment in June 2020.
The government stake was intended to prevent a foreign takeover of the company.