July 21, 2020 / 11:09 AM / 24 days ago

Qatar Investment Authority takes stake in vaccine-maker CureVac

BERLIN (Reuters) - German biotech company CureVac said Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has taken an undisclosed stake in the firm as part of a $126 million financing round, the latest high-profile investor to come onboard ahead of a potential stock market listing.

Tuesday’s announcement is the fourth injection of funding in two months and comes just a day after British pharmaceutical company GSK bought a 10% stake in return for a $171 million investment.

The German government also made a $343 million investment in June in return for a 23% holding in the firm, taking the total investment from a private financing round to $640 million, CureVac said.

The Tuebingen-based company, which is backed by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, also secured a 75 million euro ($85.79 million) loan from the European Investment Bank earlier this month.

CureVac said the $126 million was raised from QIA and a group of existing and new investors. A spokesman declined to say how much came from QIA or give details on the size of the Qatari stake.

QIA declined to comment.

CureVac is a pioneer in the so-called messenger RNA approach for developing vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for infectious diseases.

mRNA vaccines use ribonucleic acid (RNA), a chemical messenger that evinces an immune response when injected by instructing cells to make proteins that mimic pathogens.

The approach, also being deployed in experimental COVID-19 vaccines by BioNTech and partner Pfizer and Moderna, is yet to be approved in any therapy.

CureVac is planning a stock market listing in September or October, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

Reporting by Caroline Copley and Hans Seidenstuecker,; Additional reporting by Davide Barbuscia; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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