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BioNTech lifts revenue forecast as Covid vaccine orders climb

BioNTech has lifted its revenue forecast for its blockbuster coronavirus vaccine to €17bn this year as demand for the jab continues to grow.

The German biotech, which launched the first Covid-19 vaccine in partnership with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, said on Tuesday that revenues would be €1bn higher than previously forecast.

The company said it expected to sell 2.5bn doses of the vaccine this year, after singing contracts for another 300m doses in the past three months. By the end of the year, it would have produced 3bn jabs, it said.

Shares in New York-listed BioNTech have risen 12 per cent on the news.

“We continue to work diligently to respond to global vaccine needs with a commitment to ensure equitable vaccine access,” said Ugur Sahin, the company’s chief executive, in a statement.

Demand for the jab had grown alongside regulatory approval in the US and Europe, he said, as well as the authorisation of booster shots in many countries. A recent spike in infections across Europe could fuel orders for boosters in the coming months.

The Mainz-based start-up’s fortunes soared after being the first company to bring to market a vaccine using messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA, technology. It was quickly followed by US rival Moderna.

In the past nine months, BioNTech has powered to €7.1bn in net profits, against net losses of €351m for the same period in 2020.

The company is funnelling much of its earnings into its oncology research. It said that it had spent €677m over the past three quarters, compared with €388m for the same period last year.

The company is researching personalised oncology treatment and has four different Phase 2 trials in development.

“We are reporting positive clinical data across six of our oncology programs at the upcoming SITC conference, including favourable safety profiles and robust immune responses,” Sahin said.

BioNTech, which reported a cash position of €2.39m for the third quarter, said it planned to further expand its research and development investments this year, but did not give any estimates.

In August, the company launched a trial for variant-specific versions of the coronavirus vaccine, but said that there was no clinical data yet to confirm the need for such jabs.

One of the trial candidates, which it is studying in a clinical trial alongside Pfizer, combines two variants of concern. The two companies are also looking at developing a vaccine that inoculates against both the coronavirus and influenza.

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