Sinovac investor reports Chinese coronavirus vaccine windfall

  • September 2, 2021
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AN INVESTOR in Sinovac Biotech Ltd. reported a nearly six-fold increase in first-half profit, giving a glimpse into the windfall made during the coronavirus pandemic by the Chinese vaccine developer.

Sales of more than one billion doses of the COVID-19 shot, known as CoronaVac, helped Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd., which holds a 15% stake in a subsidiary of Beijing-based Sinovac, register profit of 8.48 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in the first six months of 2021, the Hong Kong-listed company said on Tuesday. The firm added that its associates and joint ventures, including the Sinovac unit, contributed 6.91 billion yuan of that amount.

The drugmaker’s earnings offer the first hint of the fortune Sinovac has amassed from its widely distributed vaccine. Sinovac, whose shares have been suspended on the Nasdaq exchange since early 2019, has yet to report any results for 2021. Sino Biopharmaceutical didn’t provide further breakdowns from individual units it has invested in.

Shares of Sino Biopharmaceutical rose as much as 1.7% on Wednesday.

The unprecedented global inoculation campaign has created hefty profits for some of the world’s leading vaccine developers. Pfizer, Inc. reaped $7.8 billion in sales from its highly effective mRNA shot it co-developed with Germany’s BioNTech SE and expects it bring in $33.5 billion in revenue this year.

Sino Biopharm, which in recent years has embarked on a transition from generic drugmaker to one that churns out more innovative medicines against cancer, made a $500-million investment last year in the Sinovac unit, a stake that is now worth about three times that much.

Dogged by doubts surrounding its wide array of efficacy readouts from late-stage trials and less effective in preventing symptomatic COVID compared to many of the western developed shots, Sinovac’s vaccine has nonetheless been approved for use in more than 50 countries and has received a stamp of approval by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO-backed Covax facility, which is attempting to provide vaccines for poor countries, has also ordered hundreds of millions of doses from Sinovac and another Chinese company, Sinopharm. — Bloomberg