EC offers €80m to CureVac for COVID-19 vaccine development
The European Commision (EC) has announced €80 million of support to aid in the R&D and production of a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine.
The European Commission (EC) has offered €80 million of financial support to CureVac, a German biopharmaceutical company and vaccine developer, to aid in the scale-up of R&D and production of a vaccine against the novel COVID-19 coronavirus. The funding is provided as a European Investment Bank (EIB) loan.
The financing is part of the EU’s response to COVID-19. The EC has mobilised €140 million in public and private funding to support research and therapeutic/vaccine development. Earlier in March, 17 projects, encompassing 136 research teams, were selected to receive around €47.5 million from the research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. The teams will work on developing vaccines, new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical systems aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
CureVac developed a novel technology, based on messenger RNA molecules, which allows vaccines to remain stable without refrigeration. Preliminary studies have shown that the technology holds promise for a rapid response to COVID-19. If proven, millions of vaccine doses could potentially be produced at low costs in existing CureVac production facilities.
The EC President, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “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. 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.”
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Supporting excellent EU research and innovation is an essential part of our co-ordinated response against the spread of the coronavirus. In 2014, CureVac won the EU’s first ever innovation inducement prize. We are committed to support further its EU-based research and innovation in these critical times. Science and innovation in Europe are at the heart of our policies for protecting people’s health.”
CureVac has already started its COVID-19 vaccine development programme and estimates to launch clinical testing by June 2020.