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CureVac logo in front of the company's south German headquarters
Image: AFP/T. Kienzle
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Germany's CureVac raises $213 million in IPO

August 14, 2020

German coronavirus vaccine developer CureVac says its New York share market debut has netted more than €180 million. Its shares sold at the top end in Friday's placing on the Nasdaq exchange.


Curevac, the biopharmaceutical firm, based in Tübingen Germany, said on Friday it had generated approximately $213.3 million (€180 million) in its stock market debut.

Alongside the 13.3 million shares sold in its market debut, underwriters also got the option to purchase some 2 million more at Friday's price of $16 a share.  

The firm said in a statement that three-quarters of the IPO proceeds would fund advanced clinical trials of its potential coronavirus vaccine. The other $50 million would go towards expanding short-term production capacity. 

Read more: Germany's CureVac to launch human trial of experimental coronavirus vaccine

Already in June, the German government via its KfW credit bank had secured a 17% holding — alongside those of other investors — in CureVac to foil foreign takeover bids. 

Rival lists in Shanghai 

CureVac's New York debut followed Thursday's listing by the Chinese company Cansino in Shanghai as aspirants worldwide work on hoped-for vaccines to immunized humans against the virus Sars-Cov-2.  

The decision to pick the NASDAQ index was, however, criticized by the German Share Market Institute, which on Wednesday urged Berlin to ensure that German stock markets were made more attractive for start-ups. 

The company was also recently the subject of an international ownership tussle. In March, reports that US President Donald Trump had sought to buy exclusive US rights to potential vaccines, CureVac included, drew outrage in Germany.

Read more: Coronavirus — Germany adopts powers to block foreign takeovers in health sector

Friday's CureVac bid coincided with a slew of data across the European Union revealing the economic impact of the pandemic and punishing lockdowns in population centers such as Paris, in a second wave of infections since February. 

The Netherlands's CBS statistics office cited a second-quarter GDP shrinkage of 8.5%, lamenting that "never before" had the Dutch economy been hit on this scale. 

Modified genetic blueprint 

CureVac, whose key investor is set to remain Dietmar Hopp, the co-founder of the software giant SAP, was given clearance by German authorities in June to run clinical trials of its potential vaccine, saying initial results could emerge in September. 

CureVac's development, like that of Biontech based in Mainz, Germany, uses the so-called mRNA technique of modifying the virus's genetic blueprint to trigger an immune reaction when injected that should intervene later if the real virus enters. 

The European Commission, negotiating on behalf of all 27 EU member states, said Friday it had agreed to buy doses from the British pharmaceuticals maker AstraZeneca, should its vaccine prove safe and effective.

The EU move runs counter to efforts led by the World Health Organization for a global approach.

ipj/mm (Reuters, dpa, AFP) 

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