BioNTech shares slide on bleak Covid vaccine gross sales outlook

Vials of the Pfizer/BioNtech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are displayed before being used at a mobile vaccine clinic in Valparaiso, Chile, on January 3, 2022.

Rodrigo Garrido | Reuters

shares of BioNTech on Monday slipped more than 6% in morning trade after the German drugmaker shared a gloomy 2023 sales outlook for its jointly developed Covid vaccine Pfizer.

BioNTech delivered solid quarterly results earlier this morning that beat expectations, but said sales were down slightly from a year earlier due to lower demand for the company’s Covid vaccine, its only product on the market. The drugmaker expects demand to fall further this year and projects Covid vaccine sales of 5 billion euros, or $5.4 billion. That’s a sharp drop from 2022’s 17.3 billion euros, or more than $18 billion.

The stock initially fell 6.4% to an intraday low of $119.98 per share before rebounding in late morning trading. By midday, the stock was down about a percentage point.

BioNTech noted in an earnings announcement that its efforts to adapt the Covid vaccine to new strains of the virus are expected to boost demand for the product this year. Last fall, the company launched the world’s first Omicron-adapted Covid booster with Pfizer and sold around 550 million doses by mid-December.

However, the company added that it expects fewer primary immunizations and lower uptake of booster shots this year. BioNTech also said it is renegotiating its supply deal with the European Union’s executive body, which could potentially spread vaccine shipments over several years and reduce volume.

The company’s bleak prospects didn’t seem to weigh on it Pfizer Stocks that were relatively flat on Monday morning.

BioNTech is the latest company to forecast a slump in demand for Covid products as the world emerges from the pandemic. Its partner Pfizer told investors in January that it expects sales of its Covid vaccine to fall 64% this year and sales of its antiviral treatment for Covid, Paxlovid, to fall 58%.

BioNTech and Pfizer became household names during the pandemic after developing one of the first vaccines to become globally available using messenger RNA technology. BioNTech hopes to strengthen its own drug pipeline and outlines efforts to use mRNA technology to treat cancer and other diseases.

“Looking into 2023 and beyond, we plan to continue investing in our transformation, focusing on building commercial capacity in oncology and working toward pivotal trials,” the company said in the earnings release. BioNTech added that its “mid-term goal” for the year is to file for approval of several cancer products.

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