Germany's CureVac wants to accelerate the development of its potential COVID-19 vaccine by recruiting pharmaceutical major Bayer to help get it ready for mass rollout.

CureVac's mRNA vaccine, CVnCOV, entered Phase 3 testing a few weeks ago, and it is hopeful that it will get emergency approval from the European Commission (EC). The company has signed a collaboration and services agreement with fellow German company Bayer AG (Leverkusen, Germany) to help leverage its established infrastructure in areas such as manufacturing, clinical operations, regulatory affairs, drug safety, medical information, supply chain performance as well as support in selected countries. The partner's believe they will be able to supply hundreds of millions of doses. BioNTech, which was the first to receive permission from the EC and the U.K. for its COMIRNATY vaccine, has had a similar deal with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) (New York, New York) in place for almost a year.

"We are very happy to join forces with Bayer, whose expertise and infrastructure will help us make our vaccine candidate CVnCoV even more rapidly available to as many people as possible," said Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, chief executive officer of CureVac. "Building on the positive data we have seen so far with CVnCoV, we now also have another strong partner on our side to get the vaccine to the people who need it following the receipt of the requisite regulatory approvals."

Stefan Oelrich, member of the board of management of Bayer AG and president of Bayer's Pharmaceuticals Division, added: "The need for vaccines against COVID-19 is enormous. We are therefore pleased to be able to provide significant support to CureVac, a leader in mRNA technology, in advancing the further development and supply of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. We are highly committed to making our capabilities and networks available to help end this pandemic."

The EC has already signed a deal for supplies of CureVac's vaccine, assuming it passes Phase 3 testing. It has similar deals with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna. Last April, the Commission offered up to 80 million euro ($88 million) to CureVac to scale up development and production of its vaccine hopeful. For additional information, see April 1, 2020, article - EU Gives $88 Million to CureVac to Ramp Up COVID-19 Vaccine.

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