Sought-after German vaccine developers granted €80 million by European Commission

The grant comes after US President Donald Trump attempted to lure the company to the US

The sought-after German vaccine developer CureVac was granted €80 million (Dh326 million) by the European Commission to further the company's work in developing a vaccine against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 7,000 people globally.

"I am proud that we have leading companies like CureVac in the EU. Their home is here. But their vaccines will benefit everyone, in Europe and beyond," said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

"We are determined to provide CureVac with the financing it needs to quickly scale up development and production of a vaccine against the Coronavirus."

The European Commission's announcement comes after reports that US President Donald Trump offered a large sum of money to CureVac in an attempt to persuade the German company to move its research to the United States, allowing Americans to have first access to the vaccine.

A March 2 meeting was held at the White House involving the CEO of CureVac Daniel Menichella, Mr Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

“We are very confident that we will be able to develop a potent vaccine candidate within a few months,” Mr Menichella said on the day of the meeting.

Nine-days later, Mr Menichella, an American, was removed as CEO after two years in the post. He was succeeded by the company's founder Ingmar Hoerr.

CureVac is a biopharmaceutical company that has previously developed a solution to one of the biggest concerns surrounding vaccine management, the need to keep the medicine stable without refrigeration.

Preliminary studies have shown that their research could potentially lead to a vaccine for coronavirus, known as Covid-19. If proven, millions of vaccine doses could potentially be produced at low costs in existing CureVac production facilities. CureVac estimates to launch clinical testing by June 2020.

Published: March 17, 2020 01:43 PM

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