UPDATE 1-Tesla's Musk praises CureVac as among most innovative firms – source

“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 CEO, met with three German ministers and other senior politicians on Wednesday to discuss the progress of a…

By Christian Kraemer

BERLIN, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Silicon Valley entrepreneur ElonMusk praised German vaccine developer CureVac as onethe world’s most innovative firms in a conversation with GermanEconomy Minister Peter Altmaier, a person familiar with thematter told Reuters on Thursday.

“Musk and Altmaier agreed that CureVac, which is working ona new vaccine approach and which collaborates with Tesla, countsamong the most innovative companies in the world,” the sourcesaid, referring to a meeting on Wednesday.

Musk, who is Tesla Inc’s CEO, met with three Germanministers and other senior politicians on Wednesday to discussthe progress of a collaboration between the carmaker and CureVacand a planned electric vehicle factory near Berlin.

The economy ministry declined to comment. Europe-basedspokespeople for Tesla were not immediately available forcomment.

Investor Dietmar Hopp, who owns short of 50% in CureVac, onThursday dismissed as “pure fantasy” any speculation that Musk’sappreciation for the biotech company amounted to takeoverinterest, speaking to news website Merkur.de.

A CureVac spokesman said purchasing a stake in CureVac wasnot a topic of discussions during Musk’s visit of the company’sTuebingen headquarters on Tuesday.

A Tesla subsidiary is helping to build mobile moleculeprinters to make the potential COVID-19 vaccine underdevelopment by CureVac.

Last November, the U.S. electric carmaker announced plans tobuild a electric vehicle factory in Gruenheide in the easternstate of Brandenburg that surrounds Berlin.(Reporting by Ludwig BurgerReporting by Christian Krämer;writing by Ludwig Burger and Thomas Seythal; editing by SabineWollrab and Mark Potter)