Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Why BioNTech Stock Sank Today

By Rich Smith - Mar 24, 2021 at 4:23PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

China suspends distribution, alleging defective packaging.

What happened

Shares of vaccine producer and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) partner BioNTech (BNTX 5.63%) tumbled 6% Wednesday after it was reported that the companies' local vaccine distributor, Chinese pharmaceutical firm Fosun, is suspending distribution of the companies' vaccine because of "defective bottle lids." Pfizer stock ended the day roughly where it began it.

In other news, Pfizer announced yesterday that in the future, Pfizer intends to go solo on projects to expand its development of new kinds of mRNA-based vaccines on its own.

So what

As multiple news sites were reporting today, Fosun says it found unspecified defects in the lids that close the bottles of a single batch of the companies' COVID-19 vaccine, batch number 210102. Out of an abundance of caution, China is not permitting the vaccines to be administered in either Hong Kong or Macao (their destinations) -- either from batch number 210102 or from a separate batch with number 210102.    

With the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine now suspended, residents of Hong Kong and Macao can only receive China's own Sinovac vaccine as it is the only other vaccine authorized for inoculation in the area.

Person in clean suit examining a capped bottle

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

It's worth mentioning that China has already made it easier for foreigners to enter the country if they can show they have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines produced in China, i.e., not BioNTech or Pfizer's vaccine.  Perhaps today's suspension of vaccinations is part of a Chinese effort to favor its own vaccine over foreign-invented variants. (China has been known to suspend product import rights in the past out of political motives.) Whether that's what's happening here, just the allegation of manufacturing defects might be enough to make consumers elsewhere incrementally less inclined to take the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, and perhaps prefer Chinese-made vaccines instead.    

In combination with the news of Pfizer's future business plans, this latest China news seems to be enough to make BioNTech investors nervous today.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

BioNTech SE Stock Quote
BioNTech SE
BNTX
$157.50 (5.63%) $8.40

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
316%
 
S&P 500 Returns
112%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/03/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.