To accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development and boost vaccine manufacturing capacity within its borders, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is awarding BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and CureVac N.V. (NASDAQ:CVAC) grants worth up to $743 million at current euro-to-U.S. dollar conversion rates.

Specifically, BioNTech can receive up to 375 million euros, or $444 million, to advance its BNT162 vaccine program in collaboration with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), and CureVac can pocket up to 252 million euros, or $299 million, to continue development of its COVID-19 vaccine program.

A woman in a lab coat speaks through a megaphone.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Currently, BioNTech and Pfizer are conducting phase 3 trials of BNT162b2 with preliminary results expected in October. If the trial is successful, then the healthcare companies plan to submit applications to regulators for its emergency use. CureVac's COVID-19 program is in phase 1 trials, and data that could allow it to enter phase 3 trials is expected in the fourth quarter.

Previously, BioNTech and Pfizer agreed to provide up to 200 million doses of its vaccine to the European Union beginning later this year if the vaccine wins a regulatory green light. Separately, CureVac says its negotiating with the European Commission to provide up to 225 million doses, plus an option for up to an additional 180 million doses.

The grants are contingent upon the companies achieving development milestones. According to BioNTech, it has already met five of eight requirements.  CureVac anticipates receiving 103 million euros in 2020 and up to 149 million euros in 2021, depending on its successfully meeting its goals.