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Saudi Pharma in talks with Germany’s CureVac for Covid-19 shot

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Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp. signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with German biotech company CureVac NV to provide a Covid-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia.

The availability of the vaccine is subject to approval from the kingdom’s Ministry of Health and the Food and Drug Authority, Saudi Pharma said. The MoU includes the possibility of extending the supply and distribution rights in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman.

CureVac’s coronavirus vaccine showed a good immune response in early trials and its chief executive officer said advanced clinical trials are on track to start by year-end. The European Union has agreed to pay $11.84 per dose for an initial supply of 225 million doses of CureVac’s vaccine candidate, Reuters reported earlier this month.

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The company has spent two decades investigating the potential of messenger RNA, in which a vaccine or drug teaches the body’s cells to identify and create its own substances to ward off disease. Two other frontrunner vaccine developers are also betting on mRNA — Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE, and the U.S. biotech Moderna Inc.

Saudi Arabia deputy health minister said earlier this month that the kingdom is working on a plan to obtain sufficient amounts of coronavirus vaccines. Saudi Pharma said it will determine the financial impact of the deal after obtaining approvals and signing the final commercial deal.

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