FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk wears a protective mask as he arrives to attend a meeting with the leadership of the conservative CDU/CSU parliamentary group, in Berlin, Germany September 2, 2020. Tobias Schwarz/Pool via REUTERS
BERLIN (Reuters) – Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk praised German vaccine developer CureVac CVAC.O as one the world’s most innovative firms in a conversation with German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
“Musk and Altmaier agreed that CureVac, which is working on a new vaccine approach and which collaborates with Tesla, counts among the most innovative companies in the world,” the source said, referring to a meeting on Wednesday.
Musk, who is Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) CEO, met with three German ministers and other senior politicians on Wednesday to discuss the progress of a collaboration between the carmaker and CureVac and a planned electric vehicle factory near Berlin.
The economy ministry declined to comment. Europe-based spokespeople for Tesla were not immediately available for comment.
Investor Dietmar Hopp, who owns short of 50% in CureVac, on Thursday dismissed as “pure fantasy” any speculation that Musk’s appreciation for the biotech company amounted to takeover interest, speaking to news website Merkur.de.
A CureVac spokesman said purchasing a stake in CureVac was not a topic of discussions during Musk’s visit of the company’s Tuebingen headquarters on Tuesday.
A Tesla subsidiary is helping to build mobile molecule printers to make the potential COVID-19 vaccine under development by CureVac.
Last November, the U.S. electric carmaker announced plans to build a electric vehicle factory in Gruenheide in the eastern state of Brandenburg that surrounds Berlin.
Reporting by Ludwig BurgerReporting by Christian Krämer; writing by Ludwig Burger and Thomas Seythal; editing by Sabine Wollrab and Mark Potter