German pharma firm Bayer to produce CureVac COVID-19 vaccine

By Kate Birch
With the aim of bolstering coranavirus vaccine manufacturing in Europe, Bayer AG commits to manufacturing CureVac’s experimental mRNA COVID-19 vaccine...

In a joint statement with the German Health Minister and CureVac’s CEO, Bayer AG has announced it will produce CureVac NV’s experimental coronavirus vaccine, which is currently in late-stage testing.

The global pharmaceutical giant, based in Germany, stated that following discussions with the German government, it had become clear that current manufacturing capacities for vaccines needed to be increased and particularly potential variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

This announcement follows a week of chaos and controversy surrounding the European Union’s vaccination programme, which is running out of supplies fast.

Bayer has skills to manufacture vaccine

While Bayer has not previously produced vaccines, the company boasts strong expertise in the development of biotech products and has been assessing its ability to further contribute with end-to-end manufacturing since the initiation of its alliance with CureVac, based in Tübingen, Germany.

According to the President of Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division, Stefan Oelrich, Bayer has “the necessary skills and capabilities at Bayer to manufacture CureVac’s mRNA-based vaccine” and the first commercial products could be available year-end.  

Bayer will provide an additional 160 million doses of CureVac’s vaccine in 2022 to further expand their supply network and overall capacity using the manufacturing network of Bayer.

Bayer and CureVac’s ongoing alliance

This production announcement extends Bayer’s ongoing alliance with CureVac with Bayer providing support in the development, supply and key territory operations of CureVac’s vaccine candidate.

Bayer provides CureVac with “its expertise and established infrastructure in areas such as clinical operations, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, medical information, supply chain management as well as support with country operations within the EU and selected additional markets,” adds Oelrich.

CureVac has also agreed a deal with Rentschler Biopharma SE, a leading global contract development and manufacturing organization for biopharmaceuticals, to set-up manufacturing capabilities for CureVac´s vaccine CVnCoV.

Rentschler Biopharma is gearing up for largescale production in Laupheim, Germany, with a view to producing more than 100 million doses of the vaccine per year.

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