The precipitous decline in demand for COVID-19 vaccines hampered BioNTech’s financials for yet another quarter, according to its latest earnings report released Wednesday morning.

The German drugmaker reported quarterly revenue of €1.4 billion, down from €4.2 billion one year prior. The company attributed a €291.3 million reduction in quarterly revenue to Pfizer’s inventory write-downs of COVID vaccines.

Additionally, BioNTech’s net profit dropped to €457.9 million from €2.2 billion in Q4 2023, while its diluted earnings per share (EPS) slumped to €1.90 from €9.26 during the same period. 

For the year, total revenue slid to €3.8 billion, down from €17.3 billion in 2022. Its net profit was €930.3 million, after posting €9.4 billion the year prior, while its EPS cratered from €37.77 to €3.83.

Looking ahead, BioNTech is pinning its hopes on its oncology pipeline, with 10 ongoing Phase 2 and 3 trials and an eye on its first cancer product launch in 2026. By the end of the decade, the company stated it expects to have 10 indication approvals. 

In the near-term, BioNTech has projected total revenue for the year in the range of €2.5 billion to €3.1 billion, along with research and development expenses between €2.4 billion to €2.6 billion.

“2023 was another year of good performance for BioNTech. We have maintained our leading position in the COVID-19 vaccine market which lays the foundation for establishing a sustainable respiratory vaccines business. In oncology, we have strengthened our core competencies by entering into several partnerships and have made numerous clinical advances. Today, our oncology pipeline encompasses multiple candidates in mid- and late-stage clinical development, including investigational ADCs, mRNA vaccines and innovative immunotherapies,” BioNTech CEO Professor Ugur Sahin, MD said in a statement. “Our goal is to achieve product approvals in ten oncological indications by 2030 and with this improve the treatment options for patients around the globe.”

Wall Street was less bullish on the company’s results as BioNTech’s stock was down more than 8% during the early morning trading session.

Lee Brown, global sector lead for healthcare at global research firm Third Bridge, wrote in a comment that 2024 is an “important transitional year” for BioNTech, with earnings expected to continue to “materially decline below the already dismally low bar” set last year.

Brown added that the company’s most promising path forward hinges on its cancer treatments.

“Importantly, BioNTech has advanced several pipeline candidates to mid and late-stage development with Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials underway,” he wrote. “We remain focused on the company’s oncology pipeline, which is robust with 22 clinical stage programs, and we’re particularly interested in several of its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) candidates.”

Chief commercial officer named

In addition to posting its earnings, BioNTech named former Novartis exec Annemarie Hanekamp as chief commercial officer, effective July 1.

Hanekamp has more than 20 years of industry experience and most recently led Novartis’ U.S. and global teams as SVP and global head of radioligand therapy. Prior to that, she spent more than a decade at Bristol Myers Squibb, ultimately ascending to the position of head of sales for U.S. immunology. 

Hanekamp’s hiring shortly after BioNTech announced earlier this month that chief business and commercial officer Sean Marett would retire and continue as a specialist advisor at least until the end of the year. His responsibilities as chief business officer are being gradually transferred to chief legal officer James Ryan, PhD.

Hanekamp predicted in a statement that the company’s COVID vaccine will only be “the beginning of a series of approved products” to follow in the years to come.

“Over the past 15 years, BioNTech has made incredible progress in translating science into survival. I believe its COVID-19 vaccine will only be the beginning of a series of approved products to follow in the years to come,” Hanekamp said in a statement. “Throughout my career, I have seen firsthand the importance of novel cancer treatments to help address unmet medical needs for patients around the world. The co-founders’ vision and the potential of the pipeline provides the Company with the unique opportunity to introduce a diversified toolbox improving the outcome for cancer patients.”

This story has been updated with commentary from Third Bridge.

To read a May 2024 article about BioNTech recording a Q1 net loss, click here.