BioNTech to Ramp Up Vaccine Production in Africa

Biotechnology company BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) recently announced its plans to improve vaccine supply in Africa by developing and delivering turnkey mRNA manufacturing facilities based on a container solution. The first manufacturing facility is expected to start in mid-2022.

Following the news, shares of the company gained 1.3% on Wednesday. However, the stock pared its gains slightly to close at $165.03 in the extended trading session.

Strategic Impact

The manufacturing solution, named “BioNTainer”, consists of one drug substance and one formulation module. Each module is built of six ISO sized containers. This allows for bulk production of the mRNA vaccines.

Notably, two modules require 800 sqm of space and have the capacity to produce about 50 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine each year with further capabilities to produce vaccines targeted for African centric diseases like investigational malaria and tuberculosis, subject to approval.

Management Commentary

The CEO of BioNTech, Prof. Ugur Sahin, said, “Today’s milestone brings us one step closer to our goal of improving healthcare by making our innovations accessible worldwide. I want to thank our teams in Mainz and Marburg who worked day and night to bring the first containers to Marburg, our center for innovative manufacturing solutions. It is an honor to work with them to make a difference and to support sustainable vaccine access, establishing regional manufacturing facilities in Africa – with the people on the African continent. I am optimistic that the next time we meet in front of BioNTainers, it will not be in Europe, but in Africa.”

Stock Rating

The Wall Street community is cautiously optimistic about the stock with a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 3 Buys and 8 Holds. The average BioNTech price target of $286 implies that the stock has upside potential of 72.8% from current levels. Shares have gained 45.7% over the past year.

Hedge Funds’ Confidence

TipRanks’ Hedge Fund Trading Activity tool shows that hedge fund confidence in BioNTech is currently Negative. Moreover, the cumulative change in holdings across all three hedge funds that were active in the last quarter was a decrease of 110,000 shares.

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