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Dow Jones Newswires: BioNTech reports soaring earnings, revenue on COVID vaccine, plans $1.5 billion in buybacks

German pharmaceutical company BioNTech SE reported soaring earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter, driven by the Covid-19 vaccine it produces with Pfizer Inc, and said it is starting a share buyback program of up to $1.5 billion over the next two years.

The company posted net profit of 3.17 billion euros ($3.51 billion) for the last quarter of the year, up from EUR3.66 million a year prior. Operating income jumped to EUR4.70 billion from EUR244 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, it said. Revenue also jumped in the quarter, rising to EUR5.53 billion from EUR345 million.

New Covid-19 vaccine orders for 2022 increased to 2.4 billion doses, the company said. It expects revenue from the shot to be between EUR13 billion and EUR17 billion this year.

BioNTech’s financial success in 2021 allowed it to bump up 2022 research-and-development investments by about 50% from the previous year, and it now expects to spend about EUR1.4 billion to EUR1.5 billion in R&D, focusing on oncology and infectious diseases besides Covid-19.

BioNTech has delivered about 2.6 billion doses of its Comirnaty coronavirus vaccine in 2021, it said.

It will propose a special cash dividend of EUR2 a share at the annual general meeting.

Write to Cecilia Butini at cecilia.butini@wsj.com

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