The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €75 million loan agreement with the German biopharmaceutical company CureVac for the development and large-scale production of vaccines, including the candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19 disease.
The EIB loan will support CureVac’s activities for the construction of its new messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) production facility in Tübingen, Germany, the European Commission announced on Monday.
CureVac began the first phase of clinical trials of its candidate CVnCoV vaccine in early June.
The EIB has already supported 13 companies with a total of €316 million for the development of treatments, vaccines and diagnostics against various infectious diseases, mainly Covid-19.
The principle of CureVac’s technology is the use of mRNA as a data transmitter that instructs the human body to produce its own proteins capable of fighting a wide range of diseases.
CureVac’s efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine drew global attention following reported attempts by US President Donald Trump to buy the vaccine for exclusive use in the US, prompting the German government to step in. In turn, this led the EU to loosen the purse strings for the company, which has been chaired since April by Belgian Jean Stéphenne.
The results of CureVac’s first coronavirus vaccine studies, conducted in Germany and Belgium, are expected in the autumn. The trial involved 168 candidates in good health aged between 18 and 60 years old, the company said in a statement.
The trials aim to determine the “optimal dose as well as to evaluate the safety and immune profile of the vaccine in humans,” CureVac said.
Announcing the approval, Belgium’s Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products, said that the trial would consist of progressively upping the vaccine dose in order to identify the safest dosage for the desired immune response.
“Normally, we will have vaccinated several thousand people by the end of this year,” the Belgian said Friday, while acknowledging a certain delay at present on the American firm Moderna. He regretted in this respect that the United States had taken “decisions much more quickly than Europe”