The European Commission approved a fifth contract with the European pharmaceutical company CureVac, which provides for the initial purchase of 225 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States, plus an option to request up to a further 180 million doses, to be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19.
Today’s contract with CureVac enlarges the already broad portfolio of vaccines to be produced in Europe, including the contracts signed with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and BioNtech-Pfizer, and the successful exploratory talks with Moderna. This diversified vaccines portfolio will ensure Europe is well prepared for vaccination, once the vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. Member States can also decide to donate the vaccine to lower and middle-income countries or to re-direct it to other European countries.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “A few days after our contract with BioNTech and Pfizer, I am delighted to announce a new agreement with a promising European company. The Commission has secured to date at least 1.2 billion doses and fulfils its commitment to ensuring equitable access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines not only for EU citizens but also for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Most of these vaccine candidates are in an advanced phase of clinical trials, hopefully authorisation will confirm these positive results, after which they will be quickly deployed and help us in overcoming the pandemic.”
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “With growing numbers of COVID patients across the EU, a safe and effective vaccine is more crucial than ever in putting behind us the pandemic. With this fifth vaccine advance purchase agreement, we are further expanding the possibilities that EU citizens and our economies can soon safely return to normality. It is yet another milestone in our EU Vaccines Strategy, and evidence of the benefits of working together in a genuine European Health Union.”
CureVac, a European company based in Germany, signed a €75 million loan agreement with the European Investment Bank on 6 July for the development and large-scale production of vaccines, including CureVac’s vaccine candidate against COVID-19. CureVac is pioneering the development of a completely new class of vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA), transported into cells by lipid nanoparticles. The vaccine platform has been developed over the last decade. The basic principle is the use of this molecule as a data carrier for information, with the help of which the body itself can produce its own active substances to combat various diseases.
The Commission has taken a decision to support this vaccine based on a sound scientific assessment, the technology used, the company’s experience in vaccine development and its production capacity to supply the whole of the EU.