UPDATE 1-CureVac teams up with Swiss contract drugmaker Celonic to boost COVID-19 vaccine output

(Adds background, details on deal)

March 30 (Reuters) - German biotech firm CureVac NV said on Tuesday it had partnered with Swiss contract manufacturer Celonic Group to produce more than 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, its latest move to boost vaccine output in Europe.

Celonic plans to manufacture the mRNA molecules that make up the vaccine, with up to 50 million doses expected by the end of 2021, the companies said.

The vaccine candidate, CVnCoV, whose late-stage trials began in December, will be produced at Celonic’s facility in Heidelberg, Germany.

Earlier this month, CureVac enlisted Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG to help produce its COVID-19 vaccine. It has also partnered with Bayer AG, family-owned Fareva of France, Wacker and Rentschler Biopharma SE.

CureVac reiterated that it aims to produce up to 300 million doses of the vaccine in 2021. (Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Ramakrishnan M.)