Bill and Melinda Gates-backed coronavirus vaccine maker hits Wall Street

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CureVac valued its initial public offering at $ 16 a share. The stock quickly climbed over 200%, to around $ 49.

The company, which competes with the likes of Modern (RNAm), Novavax (NVAX), BioNTech (BNTX) and Pfizer (PFE), is also backed by billionaire Dietmar Hopp, co-founder of the German software giant SAP (SAP).

Hopp owns almost half of CureVac. The German government and the leader of Big Pharma GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) also have big stakes.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable arm of the multimillionaire Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder and his wife, invested $ 40 million in the company in 2015.

CureVac recently received approval from the German and Belgian governments to begin clinical trials of one of its Covid-19 vaccines.

The company generated revenue of 17.4 million euros ($ 20.6 million) in 2019, an increase of 35% from the previous year. It is not yet profitable.

CureVac also has another big name in its list of partners: the company is working on technology with electric car giant Elon Musk. Tesla (TSLA). The company has entered into a development and intellectual property agreement with Tesla since November 2015, according to its regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Musk tweeted last month that Tesla’s German division Grohmann was helping build molecular printers for CureVac – a “side project” that could work with other pharmaceutical companies.

CureVac is one of many biotechnologies that have also caught the attention of the Trump administration. The company has denied information released earlier this year that President Trump was seeking to bring some German scientists from the company to come to the United States to work on a vaccine.

Hopp did not rule out the possibility of the company working more closely with the United States, however.

He said in March that CureVac was “committed to the goal of protecting all people from infection and improving therapies for patients around the world” and added that the company’s intention was to create ” sustainable infrastructure and innovative jobs in Germany ”.

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