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In a follow up to yesterdays article, the European Union has announced that it is investing €80 million in CureVac, a German biotech company working on a vaccine against the corona virus. Over the past week it has been reported that the Americans wanted to take over the company.

The European Union and major shareholder Dietmar Hopp (well-known in connection with the Hoffenheim football club and as founder of the SAP software group) are guaranteeing the credit.

Hopp announced on Monday that there may be a vaccine available in the autumn. The company wants to start clinical trials in June.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen stated:

“The EU has supported the company’s research early on and will now finance it again. It’s crucial to find as soon as possible the vaccine that will help the whole world. 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.”

According to Von der Leyen, if CureVac succeeds in producing a vaccine, “millions of vaccine doses could potentially be produced at low costs.”

“Trump wanted exclusivity for Americans”

CureVac’s recent visit to the White House along with other pharmaceutical companies provoked speculation about US intentions. A German political television news program Welt am Sonntag reported that Americans wanted to take over CureVac. And it was claimed that they wanted to keep an eventual corona vaccine to themselves.

However, the German Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that these types of takeovers could be blocked by the government. Chancellor Angela Merkel stated on Monday that she doesn’t want to waste any more time discussing any overtures from the US.

Companies all over Europe are currently developing vaccines and drugs to treat COVID-19. There are laws in all of these countries that can block takeovers if it is in the public interest.

More IO articles about COVID-19 can be found here.

About the author

Maurits Kuypers graduated as a macroeconomist from the University of Amsterdam, specialising in international work. He has been active as a journalist since 1997, first for 10 years on the editorial staff of Het Financieele Dagblad in Amsterdam, then as a freelance correspondent in Berlin and Central Europe. When it comes to technological innovations, he always has an eye for the financial feasibility of a project.