After failure with Covid vaccine: CureVac dares to start over

Status: 11/19/2021 10:40 a.m.

CureVac has long lost the race to find an effective vaccine against Covid-19. Nevertheless, the Tübingen-based biotech company continues to pursue the goal of developing a new vaccine.

The Tübingen-based biotech company CureVac will not benefit from the upcoming booster vaccinations against corona, as it has no new vaccine after the withdrawal of a first, only weakly effective vaccine. But CureVac does not want to give up. Together with its British partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the management is now focusing on the development of a new vaccine.

“While the global fight against SARS-CoV-2 continues, our focus is on developing a new generation of vaccines,” said company boss Franz-Werner Haas on the occasion of the presentation of the latest quarterly figures. According to this, the listed company, in which the federal government is also involved, amassed a loss of 143 million euros in the summer months, with a turnover of 29.3 million euros. The main reason is higher research and development costs for CVnCoV, the Covid-19 vaccine candidate of the first generation.

The means are there

Nevertheless, the company’s coffers remain well filled. According to its own information, CureVac had a billion euros at the end of September. Now management wants to accelerate the development of a second generation of vaccine monkeys. “Together with GSK, we are further developing our technology platform to develop a number of innovative mRNA vaccines against infectious diseases, including an endemic COVID-19 vaccine,” said Haas.

As early as October, the manager had announced his “firm intention” that CureVac and its partner would play a pioneering role in the development of a new, improved second-generation vaccine. Now he said that there are already the first “promising, preclinical results” for the new vaccine candidate, which, according to a study with Harvard Medical School, show the comparability with approved mRNA vaccines. According to a final analysis, the withdrawn vaccine had an effectiveness of 48 percent against Covid 19 disease.

Lost two thirds of its value

On the stock market, investors initially react with renewed price losses before a slight recovery occurs. For the shareholders, including the federal government, a commitment to CureVac has nevertheless turned out to be a loss-making business. Compared to the previous year, the share lost two thirds of its value. This means that 13 billion euros have vanished into thin air. Last year, the federal government invested 300 million euros in CureVac through the KfW development bank and, according to KfW, holds a share of 16 percent. CureVac is examining the extent to which the commitments made can also be carried over to the second-generation vaccine candidates. Most recently, the company assumed that it could enter clinical development in the next few months. The aim is to obtain regulatory approval for an improved Covid-19 vaccine to be ready for the market in the coming year.

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