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BioNTech expects to begin deliveries of upgraded and Omicron-adapted vaccines from October

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The German biotech firm BioNTech expects to begin deliveries of two Omicron-adapted vaccines as soon as October, which will help spur demand in the fourth quarter, the firm said on Monday (Aug 8) as it reaffirmed its vaccine-revenue forecast for the year.

Demand for the vaccine, 3.6 billion doses of which have been shipped globally, is waning as most people in the Western world have received three or four shots already.

However, booster campaigns using upgraded shots specifically targeting the Omicron variant are expected to increase demand in autumn. Pending regulatory approval, BioNTech said, both of its adapted vaccines would be available in time for the campaigns.

“With our strong performance year to date, we believe to be well on track to achieve our previous financial guidance for the ongoing financial year,” said Jens Holstein, chief financial officer of BioNTech.

The company acknowledged some uncertainty about what a severe shortage of natural gas, which it uses for the commercial production of its Covid-19 vaccine, would mean for operations but said it did not expect to be affected by the current shortage and is putting measures in place to mitigate risks.

BioNTech and Pfizer submitted one of the adapted vaccines, which targets the BA.1 subvariant, to the EU drugs regulator EMA last month, with delivery pending approval.

The other, targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants as recommended by the U.S. drug regulator, will begin clinical trials this month, with initial doses expected to be shipped also from as early as October.

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