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Curevac COVID-19 vaccine scale production seen this year - investor

FILE PHOTO: Professor Gottfried Kremsner injects a vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from German biotechnology company CureVac to a volunteer at the start of a clinical test series at his tropical institute of the university clinic in Tuebingen, Germany, June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - German biotechnology firm Curevac CVAC.O expects to be able to produce the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing at scale by the end of the year, investor Dietmar Hopp told the Handelsblatt business daily on Friday.

"We want to make 100 million doses available by the end of the year," said billionaire Hopp, one of the founders of software company SAP SAPG.DE.

He said he expected regulatory approval in spring or summer of 2021, although limited clearance could come this year to vaccinate people doing jobs that put them at risk of catching COVID-19 or regions with high rates of infection.

Curevac is likely to be beaten to market by U.S. rival Moderna MRNA.O and Germany's Biontech 22UAy.F.

“We can’t win this race,” Hopp said. “But we want to win the race to produce the best vaccine and here we have good chances.”

The Tuebingen-based startup, valued at $10 billion after floating last month on Nasdaq, is one of a number of firms developing vaccines based on molecules carrying a genetic code called messenger RNA (mRNA) to treat diseases.

Hopp said Curevac may also expand its cooperation with Grohmann, a subsidiary of Elon Musk's electric car maker Tesla TSLA.O, in developing so-called RNA printers that would make it possible to decentralise vaccine production.

Musk was in Germany this week and visited Curevac, sparking speculation that he may invest in the company. Hopp earlier dismissed this as “pure fantasy”.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by Jason Neely

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