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BioNTech's Potential Winners Beyond Its COVID Vaccine

By Keith Speights - Jan 24, 2021 at 8:15AM

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The biotech's pipeline includes many promising candidates.

BioNTech (BNTX 2.25%) now has its first commercial success story. Its COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 (which is being marketed under the brand name Comirnaty) should rake in a lot of money for the German biotech this year. But what's next?

In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Jan. 13, 2021, Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Jurney Cardina and writer Keith Speights talk about BioNTech's potential winners beyond its COVID vaccine.

Corinne Cardina: Definitely. Let's talk a little bit more about what else they have in the hopper. Do they have any specific competitive advantages that you noticed? What's their pipeline look like beyond the MS opportunity and the packs of vaccine?

Keith Speights: Let me share my screen again. Let's take a look at their pipeline like we did for Moderna. Here we go.

If you look at their pipeline, I'm going to do a little filtering here. I'm going to look only at their phase 3 programs. They only have one, the COVID-19 vaccine we've been talking about. They don't have any other late-stage candidates.

If we expand that to phase 2, there's only one. They have a program that they are partnering with Genentech, which is a division of Roche, to address melanoma. It's in phase 2. That's it.

BioNTech's pipeline is much more geared toward early stage candidates than Moderna's is. I want to expand it now. We're going to look at some of the early stage candidates, and they are quite a few of them.

They have programs targeting prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, quite a few types of cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other solid tumors. I'm just going to scroll down here, Corinne. Most of their pipeline focuses on cancer.

You mentioned that they've positioned themselves as an immunotherapy company, and that's exactly what their pipeline indicates. They're focusing on cancer. The COVID-19 vaccine is an outlier for BioNTech.

Now, they do have some pre-clinical programs, and I am going to take a look at those if it'll allow me to demo. I'm trying to get rid of the clinical-stage ones and only look at pre-clinical. In pre-clinical, they also have programs that are targeting different types of tumors and cancers.

Corinne Cardina: There is that flu with Pfizer (PFE 0.52%).

Keith Speights: There is the flu one that they are partnering with Pfizer on. Pfizer originally partnered with BioNTech to target the flu, and then they liked what they were seeing with their mRNA technology. When COVID came along, they said that's who we want to team up with to develop a vaccine there.

But if you go on down, there's more cancer programs. Here's the mystery one, not disclosed indication, so we don't even know what that one is. Then they also have HIV. We saw in Moderna's pipeline that they have a pre-clinical program targeting HIV. Then here's one for all tumors, and then this other one that just says up to 10 indications. We don't know what those indications are.

Basically, BioNTech has a lot of opportunities, particularly in the oncology arena, but it's a very early stage pipeline. Again, that just increases their risk because the earlier stage a candidate is, the less likely it is going to be to ultimately go on to win approval. As a candidate advances into later-stage testing, the odds of success go up a good bit.

Corinne Cardina: Definitely.

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