RNA pioneer Ingmar Hoerr: from entrepreneur to philanthropist

Vaccine Insights 2022; 1(4), 201–205

DOI: 10.18609/vac.2022.30

Published: 24 August 2022
Ingmar Hoerr

Charlotte Barker, Editor, BioInsights, speaks to Ingmar Hoerr, co-founder of CureVac & Morpho Foundation

Ingmar Hoerr founded “CureVac, the RNA people“ together with colleagues in Tübingen, Germany in 2000. His entrepreneurship was motivated by his surprising discovery during his doctoral research that naked mRNA can be expressed in vivo without the risk of rapid degradation, while exhibiting the ability to generate strong specific immune responses, in contrast to what had previously been believed. During his time as CEO until June 2018, Ingmar initiated with CureVac the first clinical human trials testing mRNA therapeutics, thereby contributing to the development of the mRNA industry. During this time, he and his colleagues raised approximately $500 million in equity and significantly grew the company. He held the position of chair of the Supervisory Board of CureVac AG until March 2020. Ingmar was advisor to former EU commissioner Carlos Moedas of the European Innovation Council. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. In June 2021 he and his wife Sara Hoerr initiated the MORPHO Foundation, together with Florian von der Mülbe, also Founder of CureVac and his wife Kiriakoula Kapousouzi. He is Honorary Senator of the University of Tuebingen and in November 2021 he received the Honorary Citizenship of the City of Tuebingen.

Ingmar Hoerr played a key role in the development of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics, co-founding CureVac in 2000. After suffering an aneurysm rupture in 2020, he left CureVac and found a new passion in the non-profit Morpho Foundation. We caught up with Hoerr to discuss his early work on RNA, life in a startup, and future hopes.