Germany will take a 23 per cent stake in unlisted biotech firm Curevac, which is working on a coronavirus vaccine, finance minister Peter Altmaier confirmed today.
The state will pay €300m for the stake, which gives the firm a valuation of €1.3bn.
The move, which Reuters first reported earlier today, came after attempts by the US to acquire the firm in March.
A newspaper report on the US’ approach to the firm triggered a sizeable backlash from Berlin, with both Altmaier and interior minister Horst Seerhofer calling for the firm to remain German.
As a result, last month the German state gave itself extra powers to veto foreign takeovers of its healthcare firms.
Speaking to the media today, Altmaier said: “The German federal government has decided to invest in this promising company because it expects that this will accelerate development programs and provide the means for Curevac to harness the full potential of its technology.
“With this investment we aim to give Curevac financial security so that it can continue to work on vaccine production with the same commitment”.
The firm is one of over 80 projects worldwide working on developing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, which has now infected 7.8m people around the world.
Curevac was one of the earliest to declare their initiative, although other drugmakers have moved past it into the clinical trial phase.
The firm has already been offered €80m in funding from the European Commission, whose president Ursula von der Leyen said that she hoped a treatment might be ready even before the autumn.