New (old) CureVac CEO on non-COVID-19 medical leave as plot thickens

Vaccines
CureVac is working on a COVID-19 vaccine using mRNA, but its leadership changes and political intrigue have become bigger talking points. (Getty Images)

CureVac’s embroilment in a crazy story just got a lot weirder: Two weeks back, it lost its CEO, who was without warning replaced by its old CEO. Now, he’s out for the foreseeable future with an undefined (but not COVID-19-related) medical issue suddenly stopping him from being chief.

This comes as reports from Welt am Sonntag and Reuters allege that President Donald Trump, who met with CureVac’s then-CEO Daniel Menichella earlier this month (who abruptly left the German biotech), had tried to lure the company over to the U.S. to continue working on its COVID-19 mRNA vaccine but, according to reports, for U.S. use only.

Menichella was replaced by former CEO Ingmar Hoerr, who had left as its leader more than two years ago, putting Menichella in charge. But he’s now, after just a week, no longer CEO.

CureVac said in a very brief update last night: “CureVac AG announced today that Ingmar Hoerr, CEO of the company, will take a temporary leave of absence for medical reasons. Ingmar Hoerr’s leave is not caused by coronavirus.”

For now, deputy CEO Franz-Werner Haas takes on Hoerr’s role “until his return,” though there is no word on when that will be.