One of the companies developing vaccines against Covid-19 has received an infusion of funding from the German federal government.
Mainz, Germany-based BioNTech said Tuesday that Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, or BMBF – an acronym for the native name Bundesministerium fuer Bildung und Forschung – would give it a grant of up to 375 million euros, or $444.3 million, to support the accelerated development of its BNT162 vaccine program against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The company is partnered with New York-based Pfizer as well as a Chinese firm, Fosun Pharma. However, Pfizer has pledged not to take government funding and will continue to cover its own expenses in developing the vaccine.
Shares of BioNTech rose 3.7% on the Nasdaq when markets opened following the announcement.
“The funding is an important contribution to accelerate the development and scaling up of our Covid-19 manufacturing capacities in Germany,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in a statement. “It highlights the tremendous importance of our mission to efficiently find a lasting solution to control the pandemic.”
The company said it plans to use the funding to cover expenses related to the BNT162 program in order to advance the clinical development of the vaccines within it and obtain marketing authorization as soon as possible.
On CBS’ “Face the Nation” over the weekend, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that the approximately 30,000-participant pivotal trial of the vaccine BNT162b2 has enrolled rapidly, and there was a good chance the company will know if it works by the end of October.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca said Saturday that it had resumed trials in the U.K. of its vaccine, AZD1222, after putting them on pause following an adverse event in a participant there, with the permission of the country’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. On the other hand, Kaiser Health News reported that while the National Institutes of Health has launched an investigation into the case, the Food and Drug Administration is still deciding whether or not to resume the study, while NIH officials are “very concerned.”
Photo: Michaela Dusikova, Getty Images