18. September 2020 | 06:00 CET
BioNTech, CureVac, EXMceuticals - reaching their goal with government support
In the fight against the spread of the Corona Pandemic, a great deal of commitment is required from companies. This situation also offers the opportunity to rethink and change existing work processes and procedures. Product ranges are being expanded and new possibilities and active ingredients are being sought to combat Covid-19. Above all, the common good of all is the primary focus of political institutions and for this reason they are not letting research-based companies down and are attracting them with special permits and subsidies. Ultimately, everyone around the world will likely benefit from this.
time to read: 2 minutes by Mario Hose
Natural remedies against corona viruses
In the fight against the spread of the corona virus, the Canadian bioscience company EXMceuticals is looking for ways in which naturally occurring bioactive substances can be used to combat the virus on a scalable basis. In this context, the company and two other partners in Portugal have set up the consortium called "BioBlockCOVID" in order to jointly develop functional, natural and innovative biocide formulations. The European Union and Portugal are supporting the consortium by providing the project with grants of ~EUR 0.3 million.
The project leader, Susana Santos, Chief Innovation Officer of EXMceuticals Portugal, commented: "We are very confident that the concepts outlined in BioBlockCovid will result in new practical and state of the art solutions to help control the pandemic. Alongside our partners working in therapies and vaccines, we intend to contribute with practical solutions to this very serious global problem. EXM's overall mission is to combine safe, natural and bioactive materials with advanced and sustainable technologies to create products with significant health and wellness benefits."
Production capacity to be increased
BioNTech SE of Mainz announced yesterday that the company is acquiring a production facility in Marburg from Novartis AG. The plant is expected to produce up to 750 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine next year, making it the largest production facility in Europe. This plant is one of three production facilities of BioNTech. With the purchase, the company is not only acquiring the necessary equipment, but is also taking on around 300 experienced employees who are currently working at the site.
"This acquisition reflects BioNTech's commitment to significantly expanding its manufacturing capacity in order to supply a potential vaccine worldwide upon authorization or approval. We are working closely with Novartis to prepare for a smooth transition, and we look forward to welcoming the new members of our team and tapping into their impressive skills and expertise. From a strategic standpoint, the new site will bolster our vertically integrated business model with in-house manufacturing capabilities for mRNA manufacturing as well as vaccine formulation," said Sierk Poetting, M.D., Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of BioNTech.
Reaching its goal with government support
Newcomer, CureVac, recently announced that the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is expected to receive up to EUR 252 million for the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. In July 2020, Federal Minister Anja Karliczek had announced the recognition of CureVac's eligibility for funding. According to a milestone agreement, the company expects to receive EUR 103 million in 2020 and EUR 149 million in 2021. The government support is a special program to accelerate research and development of urgently needed vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.
Dr. Franz-Werner Haas, Chief Executive Officer of CureVac, commented: "CureVac highly appreciates this significant and important financial support, which is expected to enable us to accelerate the development of our CVnCoV vaccine candidate as well as to increase our manufacturing capacity and, hence, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the significant costs related to the development of a safe and effective vaccine as well as to the extension of the manufacturing capacity, we believe that this grant can substantially support our efforts to produce and develop a safe and effective vaccine in high volume as quickly as possible."