DUBLIN – In what continues to be a year like no other, European biotechnology firms engaged in drug development raised $4.783 billion in equity financing during the third quarter. It is an unprecedented level of funding for the sector.
As his firm unveiled early data with its spike protein-targeting COVID-19 therapy, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s chief scientific officer, George Yancopoulos, said that, even if researchers come up with a drug that works, coming up with efficient point-of-care diagnostics remains “a major societal imperative.”
The idea of being able to produce vaccines at the point of care with the push of a button may sound futuristic, but Codex DNA Inc. claims it will have the first fully automated, tabletop vaccine printer ready for the market in 18-24 months. Will this be a game-changer in rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine? Probably not. But the technology could better position health officials to respond to the next pandemic, or eventually to produce a better, faster influenza vaccine each year.
Advanced talks between the European Commission and Curevac AG have positioned the company to potentially supply up to 405 million doses of its investigational mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc. News of the progress, following similar EU-level talks with an alliance of Sanofi SA and Glaxosmithkline plc, Johnson & Johnson and Astrazeneca plc, sent Curevac's recently-listed U.S. shares (NASDAQ:CVAC) climbing 16% to $66 on Aug. 20.
Fresh off raising $640 million in private financing earlier this summer, Germany's Curevac BV burst onto the public market Friday with a $213.3 million Nasdaq IPO. Priced at a top-of-range $16 per share (NADAQ:CVAC), the company's stock rose more than 249% to close at $55.90 Aug. 14, buoyed by enthusiasm for its mRNA vaccine program against SARS-CoV-2. Majority shareholder and longtime Curevac backer Dievini Hopp Biotech Holding GmbH & Co. KG invested €100 million (US$118.3 million) in the company through a concurrent private placement.
LONDON – Glaxosmithkline plc (GSK) is putting £130 million (US$164.3 million) into one of the leading COVID-19 vaccines developers, Curevac AG, acquiring a 10% stake, and will also invest £104 million cash up front to fund research and development of the company’s mRNA vaccines.
LONDON – The European Commission is laying plans for joint procurement of COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of all 27 EU member states, and is in discussions to agree on a harmonized approach to access and who gets vaccinated first.
LONDON – The European Commission offered up to €80 million (US$89.4 million) of funding to Curevac AG, to scale up development and production of a vaccine against the coronavirus in Europe, following reports that the U.S. administration had made an offer for the German biotech, in order to get exclusive control of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.