For most investors, the story of BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) will always start with the pandemic and its partnership with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) to deliver Comirnaty, the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine for COVID-19. It's only natural. But the company's roots are much deeper, based in research for curing another disease, cancer.
The coronavirus vaccine and its history of cancer research are a combination that could produce blockbusters, making its shares worth much more than the market is pricing in. Here's more on these three things smart investors already know about BioNTech.
1. It has the best-selling drug over a one-year period
The BioNTech-Pfizer collaboration has produced the most revenue for any drug ever in a 12-month period, generating almost $37 billion in sales in 2021. It goes without saying it was also more than any other COVID vaccine.
As of March, the partners had delivered more than 3.1 billion doses and had signed agreements for another 2.4 billion in 2022. Pfizer has said it expects the drug to produce another $32 billion in sales this year.
2. It's targeting a large and fast-growing market
That's just one drug. BioNTech currently has 16 candidates in its pipeline in 20 clinical trials, and almost all of them target cancer. Rather than being satisfied with one successful treatment, the company is investing in a portfolio targeting one of the most important areas of drug sales, estimated to be worth nearly $200 billion this year. And treatments for cancer have a share of the pharmaceutical and biotech industry that's growing.
3. Shares have been pummeled
Despite the gusher of profits, BioNTech stock is down big from its high last summer. Management plans to authorize a $1.5 billion stock repurchase plan in addition to offering a special dividend that works out to about $2.11 per share -- a yield of 1.5%. It's unlikely to be much consolation for those who held through the drop.
The company earned $43 per share last year. It is expected to post earnings per share of about $39 this year, $24 in 2023, and back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest $8 the following year. Some creative math shows the stock price of $145 assigns about half of the company's $36 billion market capitalization to its portfolio of drug candidates. That leaves a lot of potential upside.
One of the most promising of the 16 candidates is BNT311, a potential treatment for non-small cell lung cancer, developed with partner Genmab. It was a focus during the most-recent earnings call. That market alone is estimated to be worth $30 billion by 2030.
BioNTech also has two potential treatments for skin cancer, one that it owns and one it developed with Roche Holding's Genentech. Melanoma is a roughly $9 billion market expected to grow closer to $15 billion by 2027.
There are about a dozen more examples; not all will pan out. But with the company's balance sheet full of cash, proven drug platforms, and innovative partners, it's hard not to see the potential profits in the coming years. The question for investors is whether they are willing to wait for BioNTech to take off.