Despite sales slowdown, BioNTech beats Q3 expectations and strengthens 2022 outlook

After routing sales expectations in the third quarter and already showing signs of success with its omicron-adapted version of the shot, BioNTech has improved its outlook for 2022 sales.

Instead of a range of 13 billion to 17 billion euros ($13 billion to $17 billion), BioNTech now says vaccine sales will fall somewhere between 16 billion to 17 billion euros ($16 billion to $17 billion) in 2022.

The adjustment comes as BioNTech reported vaccine sales at 3.5 billion euros for the quarter, stunning analysts who zeroed in on a consensus figure of 1.9 billion euros. In September, analysts from ODDO BHF projected the company's annual figure to come out to 14.1 billion euros ($14.1 billion).

The company said it expects to supply 2.1 billion doses of the shot this year, fulfilling contracts with Europe for delivery of 650 million doses and with the U.S. to provide 105 million doses. BioNTech also has “deployed more than 300 million doses of our variant-adapted vaccine as of mid-October,” Ryan Richardson, BioNTech’s chief strategy officer, said on a conference call.

After an unexplained slide in the early morning, BioNTech’s stock rebounded by mid-morning for a 2% overall increase.

The vaccine sales adjustment comes a week after BioNTech’s COVID vaccine partner Pfizer reported surprisingly strong sales of $4.4 billion for the shot in the third quarter, compelling the pharma giant to bump up its annual Comirnaty sales projection from $32 billion to $34 billion.

The projection changes stand in contrast to those at Moderna. Last week, the mRNA specialist slashed its annual sales projection for its COVID-19 vaccine from $21 billion to a range of $18 billion to $19 billion. Moderna chalked the reduction up manufacturing issues creating a shortfall in supply and to deferring $2 billion to $3 billion of sales to 2023 because of decreased demand.

Last year, BioNTech made $19.9 billion from its COVID-19 vaccine, while Pfizer reported its sales of the shot at $36.8 billion and Moderna’s Spikevax generated sales of $17.7 billion.

BioNTech steered clear of any vaccine sales projections for 2023, citing many factors including uncertainty in demand, pricing and the effects of the emergence of variants. The company has an agreement in place with the EU to supply 450 million doses in 2023, with an option for 450 million additional shots.

“I think we’ve got to move away from the thinking on the order book,” Holstein said. “It will take probably a few years. The danger really is to draw the wrong conclusions from some number on an order book. Therefore, we’re moving away from giving some guidance.”

BioNTech ended the quarter with revenue of 3.5 billion euros ($3.5 billion), a 43% decline from the third quarter of last year when vaccine sales were booming.

The quarter’s performance brought BioNTech’s total revenue for the year to 13.4 billion euros ($13.4 billion), which includes 7.1 billion euros ($7.1 billion) in net profit. The company hopes to use the profits to develop cancer treatments and other mRNA vaccines. BioNTech said it plans to kick off up to five vaccine trials next year and provide 10 data readouts in cancer trials.

Last week, BioNTech and Pfizer said a new study of their booster showed that it generated four times the neutralizing antibodies against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants in people age 55 and older, compared to their original vaccine. Additionally, after one month, the booster provided 13 times the antibodies in those 55 and older and 9.5 times the antibodies in adults younger than age 55.