Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla is currently working on version 3 of its vaccine printer for CureVac and he believes that it is going to be an “important product for the world.”
Earlier this year, Musk announced that Tesla has become the manufacturing partner for biotech firm CureVac who is working on a COVID-19 vaccine based on their RNA technology.
The CEO announced that Tesla would be “building RNA micro-factories for CureVac,” a Germany-based company.
It was surprising since it’s a completely different sector than electric vehicles or renewable energy.
But as we previously reported, Tesla had been working with CureVac since last year — prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The automaker would be making an automated system for RNA printing and deploy it around the world.
RNA is a molecule found within all forms of cellular life, and it has been described as a sister molecule to DNA.
CureVac has found a way to stabilize the molecule and have it deliver ways to fight specific diseases to the body.
The company had been working to cure other flu strains, but it turned its focus onto COVID-19 amid the pandemic and they recently moved to their second phase of the clinical trial:
We haven’t heard much from Tesla’s side of the project since Musk went to Germany in August and reviewed the project with Curevac.
But since Musk was again in Germany last week, some people on Twitter asked for an update and the CEO responded:
The vaccine that @tesla are working on takes a similar approach to Pfizer and although slower to human trials, may be easier to scale, optimising the nucleic acid rather than chemical modification of the RNA. Any updates on this @elonmusk? pic.twitter.com/77iIQJSqsW
— Sam (@SamTalksTesla) November 9, 2020
The CEO also added that he believes the product will be important for the world, but he doesn’t believe it will make a difference for Tesla financially:
“I do expect this to become an important product for the world, but probably not financially material for Tesla.”
Tesla’s annualized revenues are currently over $20 billion and therefore, it takes a lot to move the needle.
The idea is that while CureVac is working on the vaccine, they are going to need a way to distribute it on a massive scale around the world.
That’s where Tesla comes in with its manufacturing expertise.
Tesla is going to be compensated for building the “micro-factories” to produce the vaccine if the project is successful, but Musk is saying that investors shouldn’t take that into account.