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COVID-19 vaccine developer CureVac shares surge in US debut

COVID-19 vaccine developer CureVac shares surge in US debut

FILE PHOTO: An employee of German biopharmaceutical company CureVac, demonstrates research on a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease at a laboratory in Tuebingen, Germany, March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

REUTERS: Shares of German biotechnology firm CureVac nearly tripled in their Nasdaq debut on Friday (Aug 14), marking the first stock market debut of a company developing a potential vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus.

The stock opened at US$44 per share, up from the initial public offering (IPO) price of US$16 per share.

CureVac, backed by Microsoft Corp founder and billionaire Bill Gates, sold 13.33 million shares at US$16 apiece, the top end of its indicated price range of between US$14 and US$16 per share.

The company, which started an early-stage coronavirus trial in healthy volunteers in June with results expected in the final quarter of 2020, raised US$213.3 million in the IPO.

Proceeds from the IPO would be used to fund its COVID-19 vaccine program and manufacturing capabilities, CureVac said in a regulatory filing.

The company is working to expand its capacity with a new manufacturing facility in Germany that will be capable of producing billions of vaccine doses.

CureVac is in talks with large drugmakers about a partnership to help market and distribute its prospective vaccine, its chief executive officer told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Friday.

The company is researching how to use messenger RNA to fight cancer, rabies and other illnesses, including the coronavirus.

In June, the German government took a 23per cent stake in CureVac for about US$343 million. In July, GlaxoSmithKline and the Qatar Investment Authority also bought a stake in the company.

Tuebingen-based CureVac secured a 75-million-euro loan from the European Investment Bank last month.

SAP SE co-founder Dietmar Hopp owns a controlling stake in CureVac and is expected to hold a little less than 50per cent after the listing, according to a company filing.

Bank of America, Jefferies, and Credit Suisse are lead underwriters for the IPO.

Source: Reuters

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