BioNtech (FRA:22UAy) is now positioned as one of the few successful companies leading the fight against Covid.
The German biotech’s latest set of results on Monday demonstrated just how important it has become in the fight against Covid, shipping over a billion doses of vaccine to more than 100 companies globally.
This was reflected in BioNtech quarterly results, bringing in EUR 5.31bn, a strong order book, and greatly expanded manufacturing capacity still unable to meet global demand.
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Shares in BioNtech were trading at around the EUR 90 mark back in March but have now soared to EUR 389 at time of writing. Much of the positive stock price action has been achieved in the last three weeks after it came off a EUR 180 plateau in mid-July. BioNtech stock is up almost 300% over the six month timeframe.
But this is no niche biotech lightweight – the German pharma has a market cap of more than USD 100 billion at the moment.
Not all mRNA vaccines are created equal
Recent data reveals the strengths of mRNA technology, although not all mRNA vaccines are created equal – CureVac recently posted disappointing clinical trial data for their mRNA vaccine candidate.
To put this in context, BioNtech’s partner Pfizer’s 2021 vaccine sales are expected to represent USD 33.5bn+, which is in stark contrast to JNJ’s USD 2.5bn for their AAV-based vaccine.
“Vaccine efficacy against the Delta variant is still hard to determine,” says Seb Skeet, Senior Analyst with Third Bridge. “Public Health England data points to a 96% reduction in hospitalizations due to the Delta variant amongst those who have received a double jab of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. However, the confidence intervals are wide and other real-world data doesn’t always line up. What is clear is that the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine is an effective and safe option against the Delta variant though we are likely to need booster shots in the near future, especially amongst at-risk populations.”
Third Bridge says that the consensus amongst its experts is that Covid-19 is here to stay, and will become endemic. However, the experts also caution that we could see a variant with complete vaccine escape at some point in the future and eventually we may need an entirely new vaccine.
In this instance, mRNA vaccines seem to have an edge over other platforms in terms of their speed and ability to develop new candidates.
“This makes predicting demand for BioNTech-Pfizer’s vaccine very difficult, and even more so as other vaccines come to market,” says Skeet at Third Bridge.
Investors are paying attention to the non-Covid pipeline
As a result, investors are paying close attention to the non-Covid pipeline into which BioNtech has been diligently reinventing vaccine-derived cash flows.
BioNtech is exploring its mRNA technology in oncology across a variety of modalities, with 15 candidates in 18 trials, in contrast to Moderna which is focusing more on infectious disease and rare diseases R&D programmes.
BioNtech reported a net profit of EUR 2.7bn between April and June, compared with EUR 88.3m net loss over the same period last year. Net profit for the six months ending 30 June was EUR 3.9bn. This compares with EUR 141m over the same period last year. The company says it expects this will result in EUR 15.9bn in revenues from just its Covid vaccine over the year. A large part of this is ear marked to be spent on further research and development.