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By Ludwig Burger
FRANKFURT (Reuters) -BioNTech said it would likely generate up to 17 billion euros ($19 billion) in 2022 revenue from the COVID-19 vaccine it co-developed with Pfizer, pledging to spend earnings on development of cancer drugs and new vaccines.
In presentation slides for J.P. Morgan's annual healthcare conference, which is being held virtually this year, the German biotech firm said on Tuesday it expects 13 billion to 17 billion euros in revenue accruing to it from the vaccine this year, which compares with a guidance of 16 billion-17 billion euros for 2021.
The financial windfall from the Comirnaty shot, its first product on the market since the company's 2008 inception, presents a "historic chance to accelerate our vision through reinvestment in the company", it said in the slides.
Encouraged by the earnings prospects, BioNTech has accelerated clinical testing on humans of various product candidates, by far the most expensive phase of developing new medicines.
According to the presentation, it started five clinical trials last year with experimental oncology drugs previously not tested on humans and moved two trials into the second phase of testing on humans. Three phases are typically needed for market approval though in oncology regulators are increasingly considering clearance even after the second phase.
BioNTech has an influenza vaccine in the first phase of testing on humans and plans to start human testing of four vaccine candidates against shingles, malaria, tuberculosis and herpes simplex this year.
In another sign of rapid growth, the headcount in research and development increased by 40% last year to more than 850 staff.
($1 = 0.8824 euros)
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)