German drugmaker BioNTech, which developed the first widely used coronavirus vaccine with Pfizer, posted huge profits in the second quarter on record sales, with more expectations expected.
The Mainz-based company said it made a profit of nearly 2.8 billion euros in the three months between April and June of 2021. That’s about 4.1 billion Canadian dollars. In the same period last year, the company was losing hundreds of millions of dollars.
But that was before the US Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada and other public health agencies approved the company’s vaccine for emergency use.
Along with its manufacturing partner, Pfizer, the company has since signed deals to sell 2.2 billion doses of its vaccine this year and another billion in 2022.
“We and our partner Pfizer have crossed the billion mark for COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped worldwide,” CEO Ugur Şahin said in a statement. “We are proud that we have reached this great milestone after just six months and that we are making a difference to people with our mRNA technology.”
The company says it will use its profits from the COVID-19 vaccine to develop and produce vaccines against other viruses. Human trials of an mRNA-based influenza vaccine are due to begin this fall, and the company aims to have an effective prototype of the malaria vaccine by next year. According to the World Health OrganizationMalaria infects more than 200 million people each year, and kills more than 400,000 people annually.
The mRNA technology that BioNTech uses in the COVID vaccine was originally developed as a way to fight cancerous tumors, before the company turned its attention to a then-unknown respiratory virus coming from China in late 2019.
Over breakfast, Şahin and his wife Ozlem Torici decide to apply the technology they have been searching for for two decades to the new threat. Since then, the company says it expects to sell a vaccine worth 15.9 billion euros this year.
Shares in the company have soared in recent weeks, as evidence is mounting that the vaccine offers good protection against even the most transmissible variants.
The US-listed version of the company’s stock was worth about $100 when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020. They closed Friday at $389.
They gained another 10 percent on Monday when the company’s financials came out, and when the markets opened, shares were trading at about $439 a share.
The money the company makes from the COVID vaccine will be used to develop those and other vaccines.
The company says it currently has 15 potential vaccines in the works for different types of cancer. Six of these vaccines have advanced to the stage of use in human clinical trials.
BioNTech expects to release results for at least four of them by the end of the year.
“We have been able to develop multiple oncology programs across various technology platforms that are now entering a later testing phase, offering the potential to bring a series of candidate products to market in the coming years,” said Shaheen.