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Germany's BioNTech reports booming Q1 profits

May 10, 2021

The pharma company raked in €1.13 billion between January and March. The success of the BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine represents a massive change in fortunes for the German firm.

Vials of BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine sit on a table next to a syringe
BioNTech has profited greatly from its ability to shift gears and bring a highly effective coronavirus vaccine to marketImage: Laci Perenyi/picture alliance

German pharmaceutical company BioNTech, which has partnered with US drug giant Pfizer to produce one of the first and most effective vaccines against the coronavirus, has reported a first quarter net profit of €1.13 billion ($1.37 billion).

The posting represents a massive turnaround for the Mainz-based company, which had previously focused on cancer treatment research and had net losses of €53 million in Q1 of 2020.

The company shifted its efforts to developing a coronavirus vaccine in early 2020, developing an mRNA-based jab that triggers an immune system response in patients.

BioNTech set to expand production in Asia-Pacific

Monday's announcement comes just two days after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that the EU had agreed to purchase 1.8 billion additional doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer jab between 2021 and 2023.

The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine was the first to gain approval from EU and US regulators.

It has proven to be highly effective and has not been hampered by side effects or production shortfalls that have plagued competitors such as AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson.

A recent study of vaccination data compiled and analyzed by Israeli health authorities found that two doses of the jab provided 95.3% protection against infection. The study was the largest of its kind, looking at data from 5 million patients.

On Monday, BioNTech, which is run by husband and wife team Ugur Sahin (CEO) and Ozlem Turecib (CMO), also announced plans to set up a new Asia-Pacific headquarters as well as a vaccine production facility in Singapore.

Germany grapples with vaccine distribution

The company said it hopes to begin construction on both later this year, adding that the new site, "will be equipped to produce a range of novel mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases and cancer."

BioNTech stocks surge despite patent concerns

Despite recent concerns over the possibility of losing patent rights after US President Joe Biden suggested waiving these in order to increase production, shares in the company rose by more than 8% (to $198.55) in pre-market trading on New York's Nasdaq stock exchange Monday morning.

js/rs (AFP, AP, dpa)