German pharmaceutical company CureVac insists it did not receive any offer from U.S. President Donald Trump to secure exclusive rights to a potential coronavirus vaccine, despite the German government and the companys main investor saying it did.
CureVac deputy CEO Franz-Werner Haas said on Tuesday “there was and is no offer” from Trump “or any governmental organizations” to take over the company or “to have manufacturing slots reserved” for exclusive vaccine production for the U.S. market.
The Tübingen-based company on Sunday and Monday rejected reports that Trump had attempted to snatch up exclusive rights to the firms coronavirus vaccine, which is currently being developed in cooperation with a taxpayer-funded German institute.
But Haas, in a one-hour news conference carried out by telephone, failed to explain why senior German ministers had confirmed — and strongly condemned — such a bid, and why even the companys main investor, Dietmar Hopp, said Monday that he had been informed about a U.S. offer which he then rejected.
Hopp said in a Sport1 interview that “it is not possible that a German company develops the vaccine and that it is used exclusively in the U.S. That was not an option for me.” He added, “[Trump] spoke to the company and they immediately told me and asked me what I thought about it, and I knew immediately that this was out of the question.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters on Monday that the German government “has dealt very early on” with Trumps reported takeover attempt. She said, in reference to Hopps statement, that the issue had now been “resolved.”
Friedrich von Bohlen, a member of CureVacs supervisory board, tried to downplay Hopps comments during Tuesdays press conference, and claimed that Hopp “was just summarizing all the information that came up from honestly even we dont know where.”
There are open questions about CureVacs leadership. CEO Daniel Menichella, a U.S. citizen, had to abruptly leave the company after he participated earlier this month in a White House meeting where Trump reportedly approached him with his offer.
Menichella was replaced last week by Ingmar Hoerr, the German founder of the company. However, on Monday CureVac announced that Hoerr would take temporary leave “for medical reasons … not caused by coronavirus,” and appointed deputy CEO Haas as interim company leader.
Von Bohlen told reporters that the decision to replace Menichella had been a “mutual” decision by the board unrelated to his meeting with Trump a few days earlier. Von Bohlen said the board appointed Hoerr because of his strong background in biotechnology that could be helpful to master the coronavirus crisis.
Contradictions aside, reports about Trumps interest in CureVac have certainly benefited the companys funding: On Monday, the European Commission announced that CureVac would receive an Read More – Source