Covid Vaccine Contender CureVac More Than Triples in Debut


CureVac BV soared 249% in its trading debut after raising $213 million in a U.S. initial public offering that boosted its profile in the race for a coronavirus vaccine.

It was the best first-day performance by a wide margin among about 200 new listings on U.S. exchanges this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It is definitely a race,” CureVac Chief Executive Officer Franz-Werner Haas said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “It is a race not that much against the competition of other vaccine producers out there but a race against the virus. It is a race against time.”

The company’s shares closed at $55.90 in New York trading Friday, giving the company a market value of $9.86 billion. CureVac sold 13.33 million shares Thursday for $16 each after marketing them for $14 to $16.

CureVac, based in Tubingen, Germany, is also raising 100 million euros ($118 million) in a private placement concurrent with the IPO, according to CureVac’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Government Stake

The German government agreed in June to acquire 23% of the company for 300 million euros via development bank Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau, known as KfW.

Covid Vaccine Contender CureVac More Than Triples in Debut

The offering was led by Bank of America Corp., Jefferies Financial Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG. Shares of the company, which is being incorporated in the Netherlands and renamed CureVac NV in conjunction with the IPO, are trading on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol CVAC.

CureVac, founded in 2000, said in June that it received regulatory approval to begin Phase 1 clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate. It said in its filing that it expects the results of those trials in the fourth quarter.

Transatlantic Prize

As the coronavirus pandemic took hold, CureVac became the prize in a transatlantic competition to secure access to a potential vaccine after reports that the U.S. was angling to buy the company or its technology. In March, CureVac denied speculation that the U.S. government tried to buy the business or its technology.

CureVac’s research is focused on messenger RNA, in which the vaccine teaches the body’s cells to identify and attack the virus. Some other companies trying to develop coronavirus vaccines, including Moderna Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and German rival BioNTech SE, are already public.

Moderna shares rose 2% on Friday, while BioNTech’s American depositary receipts fell 3.3%. The now second-best first-day performance for U.S. IPO is BigCommerce Holdings Inc., which closed up 201% in its debut.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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