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CureVac may let contractors make rival vaccines if own shot fails - CEO

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By Tilman Blasshofer and Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT, June 17 (Reuters) - German biotech firm CureVac could allow its network of manufacturing partners to be repurposed to make vaccines developed by other companies should its own experimental shot fail, its chief executive told Reuters on Thursday.

The German company saw billions of euros wiped from its market value on Thursday after its COVID-19 vaccine proved only 47% effective in an initial trial read-out, denting investor confidence in its ability to take on rival shots.

"At the moment we are of course fully committed to obtain authorisation, the data will show," CureVac CEO Franz-Werner Haas told Reuters TV, referring to a final read-out that is still pending.

"If this capacity is not to be used - we are working with a whole network of outstanding partners - ... these partners would of course be free to make other products if we don't have a product," he said.

CureVac's manufacturing partners include Celonic Group of Switzerland, Novartis, Bayer, Fareva, Wacker and Rentschler Biopharma SE.

However Haas stressed that CureVac's efforts to develop a new generation of vaccines, a venture where it collaborates with GlaxoSmithKline, would take precedence and that he would continue to draw on the external contractors for that drive

(Reporting by Tilman Blasshofer, Ludwig Burger and Patricia Weiss; Editing by Pravin Char)