German vaccine maker CureVac readies for Nasdaq debut

In this file photo taken June 23, 2020 the logo of the biopharmaceutical company CureVac is seen in front of the company’s headquarters in Tuebingen, southern Germany. — AFP pic
In this file photo taken June 23, 2020 the logo of the biopharmaceutical company CureVac is seen in front of the company’s headquarters in Tuebingen, southern Germany. — AFP pic

FRANKFURT, Aug 14 — German biotech company CureVac, whose development of a coronavirus vaccine reportedly drew interest from US President Donald Trump, is set to make its Nasdaq debut today after raising more than US$200 million (RM840 million) in its initial public offering in New York.

The company is seen as one of the leading contenders in the race to develop to a Covid-19 vaccine and received permission in June to start human trials.

CureVac, based in Tuebingen in southwest Germany, said on Friday that it raised US$213.3 million in its share offering, at the higher end of its price target of US$14 to US$16 a share.

The company placed 13.3 million shares, giving it a valuation of around US$2.8 billion.

CureVac was thrust into the spotlight in March when media reports suggested that the Trump administration was looking to secure exclusive rights to its in-development vaccine.

The company and US officials dismissed the news as unfounded, but it prompted Economy Minister Peter Altmaier to declare that “Germany is not for sale”.

In a move to shield the firm from falling into foreign hands, the German government in June took a 23-percent stake in CureVac for €300 million.

At the time, Altmaier said: “We don’t know which company will bring the first workable vaccine to market. But we know that CureVac is among those in the lead.”

In July, British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline paid around €143 million for a 10 per cent stake in the company to work together on vaccine development.

CureVac, whose controlling shareholder is the billionaire co-founder of software giant SAP, Dietmar Hopp, develops therapies based on harnessing “messenger RNA” — molecules related to DNA — to treat diseases.

It employs more than 400 people in Germany and Boston.

Like its German competitor BioNTtech, CureVac preferred listing on the Nasdaq “where the most analysts and investors in biotech circulate”, according to a company source. — AFP

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