Recently minted biotech industry star BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) was a standout performer on Monday. The stock closed 8.5% higher on the day thanks to very encouraging remarks uttered by its CEO regarding the coronavirus vaccine it's developed with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE).
As many are aware, BioNTech/Pfizer's BNT162b2 was recently authorized for emergency use in both the U.S. and European Union. On Monday, the biotech's CEO, Dr. Ugur Sahin, made several hopeful pronouncements about it.
In the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Sahin said that BioNTech is developing a version that would have less stringent storage requirements. The current vaccine famously -- well, notoriously -- requires extremely cold temperatures in order to be preserved for use. Rival coronavirus vaccines can be stored at higher temperatures. Sahin speculated that such a version could be ready in the second half of this year.
Also, in an interview with CNBC the same day, Sahin addressed concerns about changes witnessed in the coronavirus. "We are confident that based on the mechanism of our vaccine, even though there are mutations, we believe that the immune response which is induced by our vaccine could also deal with [a] mutated virus," he pronounced.
Of course, more research and development is necessary for both of these hopes to be realized. Yet Sahin appears to be genuinely confident about BNT162b2, and the flexibility of the messenger RNA technology that underlies it -- plus the speed of its development -- supports his ambitions.