German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier confirmed Monday that the government is investing in biotech firm CureVac.
The move follows attempts by the US in March to acquire a stake in the company. Germany will pay €300 million ($337.4 million) for a 23% share.
"The German government has decided to invest in this promising company because it expects that this will accelerate development programmes and provide the means for CureVac to harness the full potential of its technology," Altmaier said at a news conference.
He added that Germany wants to strengthen its sectors in life sciences and biotech and that the government would not have any authority over CureVac's business strategy.
To safeguard Germany's ownership of its two country's two coronavirus vaccine developers — CureVac and BioNTech — the federal government gave itself new powers in May to reject foreign takeover bids for healthcare companies.
"We're sending a clear signal for CureVac here in Germany as a place to do business," Altmaier told reporters in Berlin.
Until now, billionaire German entrepreneur Dietmar Hopp, co-founder of European software company SAP, had been the major investor, with more than 80% of the shares.
Germany's investment comes days after it signed an agreement along with France, Italy and the Netherlands to procure 300 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca. Under the deal, all EU member states must receive supplies of the vaccine as soon as it is discovered.
In collaboration with Oxford University, AstraZeneca is working on a vaccine candidate, with trials on 10,000 participants underway.
mvb/rt (dpa, Reuters)