As COVID vaccine sales plummet, BioNTech looks for new growth opportunities

After raking in billions with its Pfizer-partnered vaccine, BioNTech is turning to new ventures as its revenues plummet.

BioNTech reported first-quarter revenues of 1.27 billion euros (1.4 billion), a far cry from 2022's first-quarter haul of 6.37 billion euros ($7.03 billion). Despite the downturn, the quarter went “fully to our expectations,” CFO Jens Holstein said on a conference call.

Sales-wise, the current quarter should be the weakest of 2023, Holstein said. The company’s COVID-19 vaccine revenue guidance for 2023 stands at €5 billion ($5.4 billion), which is “something we can live with," the CFO added.

Meanwhile, BioNTech believes the United States' transition to a commercial COVID-19 vaccine market could provide new growth opportunities.

But as its pandemic-related business struggles, BioNTech is busy advancing its pipeline as it looks for its next big growth driver.

The company’s pipeline includes multiple oncology ventures, including an HER2-targeted antibody-drug conjugate that it’s working on with DualityBio. The company is also advancing a CAR-T cell therapy and a Genentech-partnered mRNA cancer vaccine candidate.

While the COVID-19 global health emergency is over, according to the World Health Organization, BioNTech isn’t done yet with its COVID ambitions. The company aims to produce seasonal adopted vaccines as well as a single-dose, ready-to-use vial.

It also is working on a tuberculosis vaccine, plus a Pfizer-partnered shingles vaccine.

Elsewhere, the German biotech has been busy with a streak of manufacturing expansions. In February, it finished its proprietary plasmid DNA manufacturing facility in Marburg, Germany, which it plans to use globally to produce mRNA and cell-based products.

It’s also making progress on its Africa vaccine production push, which relies on modular factories housed in shipping containers. It has so far shipped the first BioNTainer to Rwanda.