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European Commission offers €80m to CureVac to develop coronavirus vaccine

Published on 17/03/20 at 01:08pm
Image Credit: Jim Mattis, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ursula_von_der_Leyen.jpg

Following confirmation of reports that US President Donald Trump sought to persuade a biotech to provide US-exclusivity for a potential COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine, the European Commission (EC) has put forward a public offer in a bid to secure the company’s help in fighting the virus on the European continent.

According to German daily newspaper Die Welt, President Trump had offered German biotech firm CureVac “large sums of money” in an attempt to lure it to relocate to US shores, where it would work on a vaccine on the condition that it only be offered to US citizens.

The story was confirmed by a spokesperson for Germany’s Health Ministry and met with widespread criticism for the attempt to monopolise a treatment to the ongoing global outbreak. Following this move from the US, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, launched negotiations with the CureVac’s management team via videoconference to offer financial support and convince it to stay and upscale the development and production of a coronavirus vaccine.

To this end, the Commission pledged a package up to the value of €80 million, taking the form of an EU guarantee of a currently assessed EIB loan of an identical amount, under the provision of InnovFin Infectious Disease Finance Facility under the research framework Horizon 2020.

“In this public health crisis it is of utmost importance that we support our leading researchers and tech companies. We are determined to provide CureVac with the financing it needs to quickly scale up development and production of a vaccine against the Coronavirus,” said President von der Leyen in a statement. “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.”

Matt Fellows

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