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30 Mar 2021 | 13:56

BioNTech ups 2021 vaccine production target to 2.5bn doses

(Sharecast News) - BioNTech has increased the production target for its Covid-19 vaccine, to 2.5bn doses by the end of the year, it was confirmed on Tuesday. The German company, which is listed in New York, developed the BNT162b2 vaccine with US drugs firm Pfizer. Around 200m doses have so far been delivered to more than 65 countries and regions.

BioNTech has signed orders for 1.4bn doses for delivery in 2021, from which it expects to derive revenues of €9.8bn, and it now expects to produce up to 2.5bn doses this year, compared to a previous forecast for between 2.3bn and 2.4bn doses.

BioNTech said the increase was driven by a facility in Marburg in Germany coming online alongside optimised production processes elsewhere; regulatory approval for six dose vials; and the expansion of its manufacturing and supplier network.

Chief executive Ugur Sahin added the estimate could increase as the year progressed, telling Bloomberg: "We are seeing an increased demand. At the moment we have prepared ourselves to produce 2.5bn doses, but in principle there is room for further increase."

Sahin also said that a ready-to-use formulation of the vaccine that could be stored at refrigerator temperatures could be ready in the second half of the year, Bloomberg reported. The current version requires freezer storage.

The update came as BioNTech posted results for the year to 31 December 2020. Revenues rose to €482.3m in 2020, from €108.6m in 2019, with more than half of revenues - €270.5m - coming from the Covid-19 vaccine. The operating loss narrowed from €181.5m to €82.4m, while net profit came in at €15.2m, compared to 2019's net loss of €179.2m.

Sahin, who founded BioNTech in 2008 with Ozlem Tureci, the firm's chief medical officer, called 2020 "a transformational year".

He added: "We will continue to focus on innovating in the Covid-19 field by advancing new formulations and addressing vaccine variants, as well as initiating new trials in additional sub-populations.

"At the same time, we are accelerating the development of our cancer immunotherapies. We see a tremendous opportunity to reinvest the proceeds from our Covid-19 vaccine into extending and accelerating the research and development of new vaccines and therapeutics to improve the health of people worldwide by harnessing the full potential of the immune system."

Shares in BioNTech rose nearly 6% in pre-market trading, while Pfizer was largely flat.
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