After CureVac nabs government backing, BioNTech sees $250M private investment

As two of Germany’s brightest COVID-19 pandemic vaccine biotechs continue to speed on with their clinical work, both have seen big cash injections to help them—but from very different sources.

Two weeks ago, Germany said it was taking a 23% stake, worth €300 million, in privately owned CureVac as the company preps to push on with work for its mRNA vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic; in fact, just a few days later, it got the all-clear to start its first human trials.

That investment was perhaps a defensive move coming on the heels of accusations that the Trump administration had tried to lure the company over to the U.S. in the hope it could develop and manufacture its experimental vaccine for U.S. citizens, though this allegation was later denied. The whole saga also saw CureVac's former CEO out the door in what was a crazy few weeks for the biotech.

Fellow German biotech BioNTech is also working on an mRNA vaccine attempt but penned a deal with U.S. Big Pharma Pfizer early on to help with its work.

The German government is not investing in this second hopeful, which went public last year, but it’s still raking in the cash, today nabbing $250 million (€223 million) from Singapore-based investment firm Temasek and “other accredited investors.”

This breaks down into $139 million in shares wedded to a $112 million investment in four-year mandatory convertible notes.

BioNTech, which is testing several vaccine hopefuls, has said it expects early clinical data out of one its pandemic programs, known as BNT162, any day now, meaning Temasek will see whether its investment was a good bet pretty quickly.