German vaccine maker CureVac surges nearly 250% in Nasdaq debut

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German vaccine maker CureVac surges almost 250% in Nasdaq debut

The shares of the biotech company CureVac closed on the first day of trading on the Nasdaq by almost 250 percent

Shares in German biotech company CureVac, which is developing a leading coronavirus vaccine candidate, soared on its first day of trading in New York after raising more than $ 200 million in an initial public offering.

The company, which traded on the Nasdaq under the "CVAC" ticket, closed at $ 55.90, up nearly 250 percent from its introductory price of $ 16 per share.

CureVac is recognized as one of the leading competitors in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and received approval to start trials on humans in June.

The Tübingen, southwest Germany-based company announced on Friday that it had raised $ 213.3 million (€ 180.6 million) on its stock offering at the upper end of its price target of $ 14-16 per share.

The company placed 13.3 million shares for a valuation of approximately $ 2.8 billion.

CureVac came into the spotlight in March when media reports indicated that US President Donald Trump's administration was seeking exclusive rights to the vaccine under development.

The company and US officials rejected the news as unfounded, but prompted Economy Secretary Peter Altmaier to declare that "Germany is not for sale".

In order to protect the company from being accessed by foreign hands, the federal government invested 23 percent in CureVac for 300 million euros.

At the time, Altmaier said, "We don't know which company will bring the first working vaccine to market. We do know, however, that CureVac is among the leaders."

In July, the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline paid around 143 million euros for a 10 percent stake in the company to work together on the development of vaccines.

CureVac, whose majority shareholder Dietmar Hopp, the billionaire co-founder of the software giant SAP, is developing therapies based on the use of "messenger RNA" – DNA-related molecules – to treat diseases.

It employs more than 400 people in Germany and Boston.

Like its German competitor BioNTtech, CureVac preferred to be listed on the Nasdaq, "where most of the analysts and investors in the biotech sector circulate," according to a company source.

Germany participates in the vaccine company CureVac

© 2020 AFP

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German vaccine maker CureVac climbs nearly 250% on Nasdaq debut (2020, August 15)
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