BioNTech cuts 2023 revenue target on reduced prospects for vaccine


FRANKFURT (Reuters) – BioNTech has cut its 2023 revenue target by about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) on lower demand for the COVID-19 vaccine made with Pfizer but said the impact from write-downs at its U.S. partner was less then initially thought.

In a statement on Monday, the German biotech company cut its outlook for full-year COVID-19 vaccine revenues to about 4 billion euros from 5 billion previously expected and the 17.2 billion reported last year.

BioNTech, which relies on vaccine-related profit share payments from its U.S. partner for much of its revenues, said that write-downs reported by Pfizer in mid-October would reduce its third-quarter revenues by 508 million euros, compared with up to about 900 million initially flagged.

“Charges which originated at BioNTech’s end have largely already been reflected in our 2022 financial results and to a smaller extent were continued to be reflected during 2023,” Jens Holstein, head of finance, said.

Looking beyond the coronavirus business, the company has renewed its focus on a growing development pipeline in oncology, which includes use of the mRNA technology pioneered in the vaccine as well as precision anti-cancer drugs from a class known as antibody-drug conjugates and therapies based on modified immune cells.

But the reduced revenue prospects prompted the Mainz-based company to cut its 2023 research and development (R&D) budget for the second time, forecasting a range from 1.8 to 2 billion euros, down from between 2 and 2.2 billion euros laid out in August.

That would still mark an expansion from the 2022 budget of 1.54 billion. During the third-quarter alone, the number of ongoing clinical trials in the second and third stages of testing increased by three to 11, it added.

Third-quarter revenues were 895 million euros, broadly in line with an analyst consensus compiled by LSEG and down from 3.46 billion from a year earlier.

Pfizer and BioNTech said last month that their experimental vaccine to prevent both flu and COVID-19 generated a strong immune response against strains of the viruses in an early- to mid-stage trial and that they planned a late-stage trial in the coming months.

($1 = 0.9306 euros)

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Editing by Rachel More and Barbara Lewis)


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