In just two short years, BioNTech will have more than doubled the size of its workforce at the German biologics facility it bought from Novartis at the height of the pandemic.
BioNTech is hiking the headcount at its Marburg, Germany, vaccine plant by 50%, the company confirmed via email Wednesday. Since it picked up the site from Novartis in 2020, BioNTech has added about 200 employees. Now, it’s planning to recruit an additional 250 staffers before the year is out, a company spokesperson said.
At the same time, the German mRNA specialist is socking some €50 million (about $56.4 million) into the site. It’s planning to add additional office space there as it weighs options for future growth, BNN Bloomberg Reports.
BioNTechThe site came equipped with about 300 workers at the time it was purchased.
The Marburg facility already ranks among the biggest mRNA vaccine factories in the world, and it’s helped supply more than 1.2 billion doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, BNN pointed out. For 2022, the partners are aiming to produce a staggering 4 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses across their global manufacturing sites.
BioNTech isn’t just sticking to pandemic products in Marburg, either. The company has telegraphed plans to work on other mRNA vaccines there once they’re approved, such as the shots it’s developing with Pfizer for flu and shingles, plus its solo mRNA vaccine efforts in malaria, tuberculosis and herpes, BNN said. The company has also said it plans to work on antibodies and cell and gene therapies for cancer and infectious diseases at the facility.
BioNTech bought the Marburg site from Novartis back in 2020, right around the time it and Pfizer were starting to rack up sizable supply deals for their shot. At the time, the German company said the site could have annual capacity of up to 750 million COVID-19 mRNA vaccine doses. It’s since dialed up that capacity estimate to 1 billion doses per year.
BioNTech added in September of 2020 that the site would be used to handle the first three steps of manufacturing for its mRNA shot: mRNA production, drug substance purification and concentration, and formulation.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s shot has quickly risen through the ranks as the world’s top-selling drug. Together with Pfizer’s oral antiviral Paxlovid, Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine could generate combined peak sales of between $50 billion and $60 billion, Cantor Fitzgerald’s Louise Chen wrote in a note to clients last month. Working solo, the vaccine could reach $25 billion in 2027 sales, the analyst predicted at the time.
During its third-quarter earnings presentation, Pfizer projected about $29 billion in 2022 COVID-19 vaccine revenues.
“We’ll continue to update the numbers for 2022 based on the contracts that we’ve signed,” Pfizer CFO Frank D’Amelio said on a call with investors.
BioNTech SE is a German biotechnology company based in Mainz that develops and manufactures active immunotherapies for patient-specific approaches to the treatment of diseases.
It develops pharmaceutical candidates based on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) for use as individualized cancer immunotherapies, as vaccines against infectious diseases and as protein replacement therapies for rare diseases, and also engineered cell therapy, novel antibodies and small molecule immunomodulators as treatment options for cancer.
The company has developed an mRNA-based human therapeutic for intravenous administration to bring individualized mRNA-based cancer immunotherapy to clinical trials and to establish its own manufacturing process.
In 2020, BioNTech, partnering with Pfizer for testing and logistics, developed the RNA vaccine BNT162b2 for preventing COVID-19 infections, which offers a 91% efficacy in preventing confirmed COVID-19 occurring at least 7 days after the second dose of vaccine. On 2 December 2020, temporary HMR authorization was granted by the United Kingdom government for BNT162b2 vaccinations within the United Kingdom. It was the first mRNA vaccine ever authorized. Some days later the vaccine also received an emergency approval in the United States, Canada and Switzerland. On 21 December 2020, the European Commission approved BioNTech/Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in accordance with the positive recommendation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA)