By Olaf Ridder and Ulrike Dauer

 

Bayer AG plans to continue working with biotech company Curevac AG despite weak interim results in a pivotal study of the smaller company's experimental Covid-19 vaccine.

A spokeswoman for Germany's Bayer, which planned to produce the Curevac vaccine, said on Thursday that cooperation would continue, with final results of the study still pending.

CureVac reported on Wednesday that its vaccine candidate was only 47% effective in an interim analysis of a clinical trial with 40,000 people. Efficacy varied by age, with results suggesting effectiveness in younger people but not conclusive efficacy in those above age 60. The spread of new coronavirus variants may have played a role in efficacy, Curevac said.

Bayer had planned to produce the vaccine as of year-end, with delivery of 160 million doses agreed for 2022. Bayer designated a German facility completed only a few years ago for the project, where it had originally planned to produce a blood thinner. The offer of production stands, the spokeswoman said.

A spokesman for Wacker Chemie AG, which also planned to produce the Curevac vaccine, declined to comment on the consequences of the trial at this time. According to earlier statements, Wacker had planned to start production as soon as the vaccine was approved.

The German government, which owns about 16% of Curevac, last year earmarked about 230 million euros ($275.9 million) in grants for the company.

 

Write to Olaf Ridder at olaf.ridder@wsj.com and Ulrike Dauer at ulrike.dauer@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 17, 2021 07:51 ET (11:51 GMT)

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