CureVac BV (CVAC) - Get CureVac N.V. Report shares surged higher Thursday after the German drugmaker said it would work with pharma giant Bayer AG (BAYRY) - Get Bayer AG ADR Report to accelerate the development of its coronavirus vaccine.
Bayer will support the supply and development of CureVac's messenger-RNA vaccine, known as CVnCoV, in areas such as clinical operations, regulatory affairs an supply chains, the company said, in an arrangement that appears similar to that established between Pfizer (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and BioNTech (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report.
CureVac said in November that CVnCoV triggered antibody development in 250 human volunteers between the ages of 18 and 60 on a level similar to that of patients recovering from COVID-19. The biotech group, based in the southern German city of Tubingen, launched a late-stage global trial in mid-December.
"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 CureVac CEO Dr. Franz-Werner Haas. "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."
CureVac's U.S.-listed shares, which trade on the Nasdaq, were marked 19.25% higher in early trading Thursday to change hands at $103.57 each. The shares were trading under $2 in early August.
"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," said Bayer's pharmaceutical president Stefan Oelrich. "We are highly committed to making our capabilities and networks available to help end this pandemic."