German pharmaceutical company BioNTech has reported a net profit of 1.13 billion euros (£972 million) in the first quarter of this year on the back of strong revenues from its coronavirus vaccine.
The company’s estimated revenues surged to more than two billion euros for the period from January to March, compared with just 28 million euros in the same period last year.
BioNTech developed the first widely used vaccine against Covid-19 together with US partner Pfizer, which holds the market and distribution rights in much of the world.
The Mainz-based company said its revenues included more than 1.75 billion euros in gross profits from vaccine sales in Pfizer’s territories, and almost 200 million from sales to customers in its region.
BioNTech shares rose by more than 8% to 198.55 dollars in pre-market trading on Nasdaq on Monday.
The results are a significant turnaround for the company, which made a net loss of 53 million euros in the first quarter of 2020.
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A people’s vaccine
The profits were announced on the same day that over 400 academic, public health experts, charities, NGOs, unions, healthcare workers and patients urged the government to waive intellectual property rights on vaccinations:
More than 400 academic, public health experts, parliamentarians, charities, NGOs, unions, healthcare workers, and patients have called on @BorisJohnson to waive intellectual property on Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.
— Global Justice Now (@GlobalJusticeUK) May 10, 2021
The letter to Boris Johnson calls on him to “stand on the right side of history” and states:
Action is profoundly urgent. New waves of Covid-19 are rising across the globe while epidemiologists warn that new mutations risk leaving current vaccines ineffective.
Together with sharing vaccine technologies and know-how through the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), this Waiver would allow more producers to get more vaccines made, and help save countless lives and livelihoods. We must learn the painful lessons from a history of unequal access in dealing with diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
We urge you to now provide the leadership to ensure an end to this global crisis. Defending intellectual property at all costs will not only lead to even more unnecessary loss of lives but is an unprecedented act of collective self-harm.
Supporters of the letter include the Fire Brigade’s Union and Green MP Caroline Lucas:
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for people across the world and it won't be over until everyone is vaccinated
— Fire Brigades Union (@fbunational) May 10, 2021
Pleased to join with 450 other voices calling on the Prime Minister to support an intellectual property waiver on Covid-19 vaccines & treatment
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) May 10, 2021
Meanwhile a series of adverts appeared at bus stops, highlighting the profits pharmaceutical companies are making while those in the Global South are left without access to the vaccine:
Sterling, Nottingham, London, Cambridge – UK bus stops plastered with posters that expose pharma greed. Vaccines are publicly funded but have been privatised by big pharma for profiteering, leaving the global south with little or no access to doses. We need a #Peoplesvaccine pic.twitter.com/gQk53Qb89w
— Heidi Chow (@hidschow) May 10, 2021
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