Press review


Qatar invests in Germany's Covid-19 vaccine developer CureVac

Country : Germany, India, U.S., UK, Rest of Asia

Keywords :
BERLIN, 24 July (APM) - The Qatar Investment Authority and a group of investors have invested $126 million in Germany's Covid-19 vaccine developer CureVac, after the German government made a $343 million investment in June for a 23% stake in the biotech, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) (p18), SZ (p15) and die Welt (p9) reported on Wednesday.
GlaxoSmithKline said on Monday it is investing €150 million for a 10% stake in CureVac in a partnership to develop up to five mRNA-based vaccines and monoclonal antibodies targeting infectious disease pathogens, FAZ said on Wednesday (p22) (APMHE 68229).
In total, $640 million is being invested from financing rounds in CureVac. The German biotech has now been valued at €1.5 billion, FAZ said.
The investments show that the €300 million investment by Germany's government in CureVac (APMHE 67759) was not only hasty, but also wrong and unnecessary, as CureVac does not need public support, Wirtschaftswoche says on Friday (p11).
The company is using new mRNA technology - targeting messenger substances crucial for protein synthesis in human cells - for its vaccine programme, an approach that has also been adopted by BioNTech and its partner Pfizer for their Covid-19 vaccine candidates.
The investments and BioNTech/Pfizer's supply deals with governments show how much potential investors, researchers and governements see in the mRNA technology - and the biotech sector could gain in reputation if the vaccines are approves, but this is still unclear, Handelsblatt says on Friday (p27).
Among CureVac's long-term investors are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Dievini Hopp biotech holding.

Pfizer, BioNTech sign deal with U.S. to supply up to 600 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech said on Wednesday they signed a deal with U.S. authorities to supply up to 600 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine after a supply deal with the UK for 90 million doses, announced on Monday, FAZ (p20), Handelsblatt (p26), Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) (p19) and Die Welt (p9) reported on Thursday.
The U.S. government will pay $1.95 billion for the first 100 doses once a vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech's BNT162 vaccine development programme is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The U.S. have the option to buy additional 500 million doses. In 2021, the companies plan to supply 300 million doses to the U.S.

Pfizer to invest €200 million in Covid-19 vaccine partner BioNTech

Pfizer is planning to buy a stake of up to €200 million in BioNTech, its partner in a development programme of four Covid-19 vaccine candidates, in a public offering off five million shares, FAZ reported on Wednesday (p23) (APMHE 68261).
A group of existing and new investors, including Pfizer, have indicated interest to buy shares worth €200 million, FAZ said.

AZN and Pfizer/BioNTech reported positive data on Covid-19 vaccine candidates

On Tuesday, AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech published positive data from clinical studies on their Covid-19 vaccine candidates, FAZ (p1 & 22), Handelsblatt (1 & 4-5), SZ (p17), Die Welt (p15) reported on Tuesday.
AstraZeneca's candidate AZD1222 induced an immmune response in more than 1,000 volunteers without causing serious adverse events (APMHE 68241).
BioNTech's candidate BNT162b1, jointly developed with Pfizer in BNT162 vaccine programme, has shown to be safe and to induce an immune response in 45 participants of a Phase I/II study (APMHE 68242).

Mail order pharmacy group buys telemedicine platform

Swiss mail order pharmacy group Zur Rose has bought German telemedicine platform Teleclinic for a medium two-digit million euros sum to connect both services, as patients can have their electronic prescriptions filled directly after an online consultation, Handelsblatt reported on Monday (p46).
Teleclinic's founder Katharina Jünger will remain the chief executive of the business, which is to become part of a project of a large online healthcare market place around Doc Morris, one of Zur Rose's pharmacies and Germany's biggest online pharmacy.

Bayer loses appeal in first U.S. glyphosate lawsuit

Bayer has lost its appeal in the first glyphosate lawsuit in front of the court of appeal in San Francisco, California, as the court has seen "plenty of evidence" for the allegations that glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup causes cancer and Bayer's Monsanto should have warned users, SZ reported on Wednesday (p15).
The decision is a setback for Bayer's struggle to resolve all present and future glyphosate lawsuits, although the court has reduced the compensation for Dewayne Johnson to $20.5 million. Bayer has lost three cases in California so far and has filed appeals for all of them.
Earlier this month, Bayer suspended part of its $11 billion settlement, as Judge Vince Chhabria - who presides over the federal Roundup litigation - raised questions over the fairness of $1.25 billion payments for a class agreement to address potential future litigation (APMHE 68089).
A hearing under Chhabria scheduled for Friday was cancelled, SZ said.

Roche says €4.7 billion first-half sales drop can be compensated

Roche's €4.7 billion sales drop due to biosimilar competition and the Covid-19 outbreak can be compensated by sales of its new drugs to treat multiple sclerosis and eye diseases, Roche said at its Thursday results presentation for the first half of the year, FAZ reports on Friday (p21).
Roche's drug sales fell in the coronavirus crisis as patients stopped making appointments with their physicians and hospitals had to reserve beds for Covid-19 patients. However, the situation has now returned to normal, FAZ said.

Economist calls for Covid-19 vaccine to become global common good

Bangladeshi economist and Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus wants the United Nations to declare the first Covid-19 vaccine developed to be a global common good so pharma companies in low-income countries can begin to set up manufacturing capacity for generic versions of the vaccine, FAZ reported on Saturday (p7).
However, the initiative, which is supported by several governments and celebrities, may not be needed in India, as the country is working on its own vaccine candidate, soon to be tested in the clinic. But sceptics are worried that the candidate is advancing too fast, FAZ said.



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