Press review

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CureVac gains momentum

Country : Germany

Keywords :
BERLIN, Oct 20 (APM) - German biotech CureVac has gained fresh momentum from the billion euro partnership it signed with U.S.'s Lilly, reported Handelsblatt on Thursday (p15).
The deal is Curevac's largest pharmaceutical partnership and is also one of the most important alliances in the German biotech sector overall.
After a January setback to its prostate cancer vaccine (APMHE 51289), the deal is a confirmation that CureVac technology is still in the game, Handelsblatt said. This is also good news for CureVac's sponsor of 10 years Dietmar Hopp and his investment firm Dievini.
The partnership confirms pharma's growing interest in RNA-based drugs, Handelsblatt said. (APMHE 55213)

Merck KGaA takes 350th anniversary in its stride

Merck KGaA is approaching its 350th anniversary in 2018 with cautious optimism, wrote FAZ on Monday (p22).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a new Life Science Center for scientific collaboration in Burlington, Massachusetts, near Boston, Merck's CEO Stefan Oschmann showed a 'no panic' attitude towards all upcoming challenges.
Talking about tech companies entering the health market, Oschman said he takes such initiatives seriously but that pharma companies are valuable partners with experience dealing with complex scientific and regulatory issues.
For the first time in many years, Merck has promising new products - immuno-oncology drug Bavencio (avelumab) and multiple sclerosis drug Mavenclad (cladribine) - that have come from its proprietary laboratories.
Merck has also successfully diversified its laboratory equipment business through the acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich and Millipore in the U.S., FAZ said.

Bayer's good deal with BASF

Bayer's 5.9 billion euro crop science sale to BASF is a major milestone for Bayer, wrote FAZ (p28) and Die Welt on Saturday (p19), and Handelsblatt on Monday (p35) and Tuesday (p35) (APMHE 55136).
The move has resolved the most important antitrust obstacle to Bayer's 66 billion-euro plan to take over U.S. seed giant Monsanto, the papers wrote. Further, the deal will generate unexpectedly high revenues to refinance the acquisition. Analysts had only expected revenues of around 4 billion euros from cartel-related disinvestments.
The transaction allows Bayer to reduce its debt and meet capital requirements more substantially than expected, wrote Handelsblatt.

Science and politics

In a rare move in Germany, a group of major science and industry research organisations have issued a joint statement to highlight the need for better science and innovation policies in the next legislature (APMHE 55095), Die Welt reported on Monday (p16).
There is considerable resistance to combining agricultural and pharmaceutical research with profit, Reimund Neugebauer, head of the Fraunhofer Society, a research organisation with 69 institutes in different fields of applied science, told the paper.
In Germany it is "well accepted that our prosperity depends on innovation," but scepticism and doubt often interfere, he said.
"If you live in a country where the population is less educated than we are, you can try one or two innovations untroubled by public scepticism. In our case, however, research must explain itself," he said.
Neugebauer said innovation requires the ability to take risk and accept criticism. To tackle these issues, Germany needs a debate which addresses technological advances but also social needs and fears, he said.
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