Coronavirus Vaccine Maker German Biotech Firm’s Stock Almost Triple On Debut

While pharma companies and other institutions all around the world are in the race of developing the bets vaccine for the novel coronavirus, its effect is being felt on the Wall Street also.

After getting listed on Friday, the stock of the German firm CureVac, a biotech firm that is backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, more than tripled by the end of its first day trading on Friday.

With an initial public offering at $16 a share, the stocks of CureVac surged by almost 205 per cent by the end of the day to end the day just below $56 a share.

Billionaire Dietmar Hopp, the co-founder of German software giant SAP, is also backing this German biotech firm which is in competition with the likes of Moderna, Novavax, BioNTech and Pfizer to come out with a vaccine for Cvoid-19.

Almost half of CureVac’s shares are owned by Hopp. The company also counts in its list of large investors the German government and Big Pharma leader GlaxoSmithKline.

$40 million had been invested in the company in 2015 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which is the charitable arm of the multi-billionaire Microsoft co-founder and his wife.

Approvals for starting clinical trials for one of its vaccines for Covid-19 were recently granted to it by the governments of Germany and Belgium. In 2019, the company recorded a jump of 35 per cent year on year in its annual revenues which came in at €17.4 million ($20.6 million). The company is yet to make a profit.

The list of partners for CureVac also has another big name. The German biotech firm is currently working with Elon Musk’s electric car giant Tesla on technology development. According to the regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission made by the company, it has a development and intellectual property agreement with Tesla since November 2015.

Tesla’s German Grohmann division is helping build molecule printers for CureVac as a side project that may also work with other drug companies, Musk had tweeted last month.

In recent months, the United States government has also taken notice of CureVac and is among the many biotech firms that the Trump administration is interested in. There were reports earlier this year about the efforts of the Trump administration to persuade some of the German scientists of the company to come to shift to the United States to work on a vaccine. The German company has denied those reports.

However the possibility of the company working more closely with the US has not been ruled out by Hopp.

CureVac is “committed to the goal of protecting all people from infections and improving therapies for patients worldwide” and added that the company’s intention is to create “sustainable innovative infrastructure and jobs in Germany,” he had said in March this year.

(Adapted from CNN.com)

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