German pharmaceutical giant BioNTech, which developed jointly with Pfizer the first COVID-19 vaccine to be granted emergency use authorization by U.S. regulators, saw its profits surge in the second quarter of 2021.
In an earnings report released on Aug. 9, the Mainz, Germany-based company, stated that it had a net profit of nearly $3.3 billion between April and June. This boosted net profit in the first half of 2021 to more than $4.6 billion, compared to a net loss of almost $167 million in the year-earlier period.
The company said the windfall from its mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine will help it to develop drugs against cancer and other diseases.
“We and our partner Pfizer have crossed the one billion mark for COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped worldwide,” Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, said in a statement. “We are proud to have reached this great milestone after only six months and to have made a difference for people with our proprietary mRNA technology.”
BioNTech’s vaccine development partner Pfizer stated in its quarterly earnings report in late July that its second-quarter 2021 revenues totaled $19 billion, an increase of $9.1 billion, or 92 percent, compared to the second quarter of 2020. The growth was driven in large part by the COVID-19 vaccine, which Pfizer said contributed $7.8 billion in direct sales and revenues. At the same time, Pfizer raised its 2021 sales forecast for the vaccine to $33.5 billion from $26 billion.
But while Pfizer and BioNTech have enjoyed a windfall from their COVID-19 vaccine, competitor AstraZeneca, which pledged to provide its COVID-19 vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic, recently stated that losses in the first half of the year on its vaccine shaved 4 cents off its per-share earnings.
Sales of Vaxzevria, AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, generated $1.17 billion in revenue during the first six months of the year, including $894 million in the second quarter, according to AstraZeneca’s earnings report, released on July 29.
But while these revenues narrowed AstraZeneca’s losses from offering the COVID-19 vaccine at no profit, the company said losses on Vaxzevria were the main factor that shaved 7 percentage points off of its reported gross profit margin, which fell to 73.5 percent in the first half of the year.
“The performance predominantly reflected the significant impact of the equitable supply, at no profit to AstraZeneca, of the pandemic COVID-19 vaccine, together with an increasing impact from profit-sharing arrangements,” the company said in the report.
AstraZeneca said losses on Vaxzevria shaved 3 cents from per-share earnings in the first quarter, and 1 cent in the second quarter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.