Biotech company BioNTech is preparing to launch two customized Omikron vaccines. Delivery of the vaccine could begin as early as October 2022, subject to regulatory approvals, BioNTech announced. Both vaccines could thus be available in time to support the booster campaigns in autumn.
"Our Covid-19 product pipeline includes variant-adapted vaccine candidates as well as next-generation vaccine candidates targeting longer and broader protection," said BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin. The company therefore expects an increase in demand in its key markets in the fourth quarter.
Two different boosters against Omicron
For one of the two boosters – a combination of the existing vaccine Comirnaty with a vaccine candidate that addresses the spike protein of the omicron variant BA.1 – BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer recently completed the submission of the marketing authorization application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This vaccine has been in production since spring but has not yet been approved.
Approval for this booster is not planned in the USA. According to the recommendations of the FDA, the companies are concentrating on a booster that targets the wild type of the virus and the predominant BA.4/5 variants. A clinical trial for this is scheduled to begin this month. The first doses of this vaccine could also be delivered as early as October, and approval is also planned in the EU.
The EU medicines agency EMA started the test procedure for this vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer in mid-June. The EMA is also testing an adapted vaccine from the US manufacturer Moderna, which, like the vaccine from BioNTech/Pfizer, is based on mRNA technology.
Sales decline in second quarter
BioNTech also provided insight into its business books today. The company then reiterated its forecast for Covid-19 vaccine sales of 13 to 17 billion euros this year. In the first half of the year, the group turned over a total of 9.57 billion euros, an increase of 30 percent. Net profit increased by 37 percent to 5.37 billion euros.
Looking at the second quarter alone, however, there was a decline in both sales (down 39.8 percent to 3.20 billion) and profit (down 40.0 percent to 1.67 billion) compared to the same period last year. The corona vaccine manufacturer attributed this to the fact that the dynamic development of the pandemic "leads to a postponement of orders and thus to fluctuations in quarterly sales".