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BioNTech profits soar in 2021 on global vaccine rollout

Mainz-based BioNTech said it made a net profit of 10.3 billion euros ($11.5 billion) last year, up from 15 million euros in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

March 30, 2022 / 04:15 PM IST

German vaccine-maker BioNTech on Wednesday reported a multi-billion-euro windfall in 2021 from sales of its anti-coronavirus jab, developed together with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Mainz-based BioNTech said it made a net profit of 10.3 billion euros ($11.5 billion) last year, up from 15 million euros in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

The development of the vaccine, the first approved to counter the virus, had had a "momentous impact on human health and the global economy", BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in a statement.

The company delivered 2.6 billion doses of the vaccine based on mRNA technology in 2021, pulling in revenues of 19 billion euros in the process.

BioNTech projects vaccine revenues in 2022 to reach between 13 and 17 billion euros, and aims to pump up to 1.5 billion euros into research and development.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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An Omicron-specific vaccine is currently in the works, while the pharmaceutical company also looks to develop treatments for malaria and tuberculosis among other diseases.

The rise of the small biotech company has had a measurable impact on the German economy, with economists estimating earlier this year that the company accounted for "around 0.5 percent of all economic activity" in 2021.

Its revenues also translated into a significant boost to the government's own coffers, with BioNTech paying 4.8 billion euros in tax in 2021, according to the company.

BioNTech said it would launch a 1.5-billion-euro share buy-back programme over the next two years and pay out a cash dividend of two euros per share.

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first published: Mar 30, 2022 04:15 pm
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