German biotech company CureVac has secured a €75m (£67.8m, $84.9m) loan from the European Investment Bank, the European Union’s prime lender, to fund its development and production of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are very pleased with the EIB financing,” said Curevac chief financial office Pierre Kemula. “It allows us to further invest in our mRNA technology platform to fight life-threatening diseases.”
The loan is the second cash boost the Tübingen-based company has received in the space of a month: the German government announced in mid June that it will invest €300m and take a 23% stake in the privately owned company.
At the time of the investment announcement, German economy minister Peter Altmaier said: “We're sending a clear signal for CureVac here in Germany as a place to do business.” He added the Berlin would not look to influence company decisions.
CureVac, which has been working on a vaccine since January, began its first human clinical trials last month. The EU money, which will be issued in three tranches of €25m each, will also go towards finishing their fourth production facility in Tübingen.
In March this year, a number of media outlets reported that Donald Trump’s administration had approached CureVac with a big offer to secure exclusive US rights to its vaccine under development, and reportedly tried to persuade the company to move to the US. The reports prompted a furious reaction from German politicians.
CureVac is one of two key German biotech companies working using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The other one is BioNTech (BNTX),which has partnered with with US pharma giant Pfizer (PFE) for the vaccine development. It announced in April that it had received regulatory approval to start trials of a potential vaccine on human volunteers.
CureVac has said the first results from the trials could be ready as soon as September or October this year, and the vaccine could potentially be approved by the middle of 2020.