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BioNTech plans share sale with Pfizer logging large order

Caroline Copley and Arno Schuetze
·2-min read

By Caroline Copley and Arno Schuetze

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German biotech company BioNTech <22UAy.F> said on Tuesday it plans to raise cash in a share sale that will see its coronavirus vaccine partner Pfizer Inc <PFE.N> become a shareholder.

The rights offering announcement is the latest in a flurry of financing activity this week around German biotech companies that are racing to develop potential vaccines against the novel coronavirus.

Shares in BioNTech, whose market capitalisation stands at $21 billion (16.55 billion pounds), surged 7% to $94.47 by 1400 GMT.

BioNTech said in a statement it planned to sell 5 million shares - worth $472 million at current market prices - and that Pfizer logged an order worth $200 million in shares.

The shares are likely to be sold at a discount, a person familiar to the matter said.

Peer Moderna <MRNA.O> in May priced a $1.3 billion equity raise with a 5% discount.

Earlier on Tuesday, fellow German biotech CureVac said Qatar Investment Authority had taken a stake in it as part of a $126 million financing round.

It follows an investment by British drugmaker GSK <GSK.L> on Monday and the German government last month.

Both companies are competing with Moderna, AstraZeneca <AZN.L> and others to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The respiratory disease has claimed more than 600,000 lives worldwide.

BioNTech and Pfizer said on Monday data from an early-stage trial of their experimental vaccine showed it prompted an immune response and was well-tolerated, similar to results seen in a prior early test.

Technically, Biontech is offering rights to purchase about 4 million shares, after 74.83% of the existing shareholders agreed not to exercise or transfer their rights.

The rest of the rights will go to the remaining shareholders who can either exercise or sell them on.

J.P. Morgan <JPM.N>, Bank of America <BAC.N> and Berenberg are organising the deal with the help of UBS <UBSG.S>, Canaccord Genuity, Commerzbank <CBKG.DE>, Wolfe Capital Markets and Bryan, Garnier & Co, BioNTech said.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley and Arno Schuetze; editing by Barbara Lewis)