6. BioNTech

BioNTech biotech investments
Until the series A round, the Mainz, Germany-based biotech had kept quiet about the cash it had brought in, but Reuters reported that its latest raise lifted the company’s total close to $1 billion. (Eli Richman/FierceBiotech)

Amount: $270 million
Round: Series A
Date: January
Investors: Fidelity Management & Research Company, Invus, Janus Henderson Investors, Redmile Group and several European family offices, including the Struengmann Family Office 

The scoop: BioNTech’s $270 million series A round came 10 years after its founding in 2008. By the time VCs stepped in, the company’s pipeline had grown to include mRNA-based personalized cancer vaccines, cell therapies and small molecules, and its headcount has swelled to more than 1,000.

BioNTech earmarked the load of new cash for its clinical pipeline, which, in addition to its mRNA therapies, also includes a CAR-T treatment and a T cell receptor therapy for solid tumors. 

Until the series A round, the Mainz, Germany-based biotech had kept quiet about the cash it had raised. Reuters reported, however, that the latest funding brought the company’s total close to $1 billion.

Some of that backing came from Thomas and Andreas Struengmann, the billionaire majority owners of BioNTech, who made some of their money by selling the generic drugs business Hexal to Novartis more than a decade ago. But the rest came from partnership fees, including $310 million in upfront and near-term milestones from Genentech. 

After BioNTech became Europe’s largest privately held biopharma, COO Sean Marett figured an IPO must follow. “Inevitably, in the end we will IPO just because of the size and the capital demands required by individualized approaches to treatment. You have to invest enormously in manufacturing,” he told Reuters last year.

He was right: BioNTech followed through just last month, filing to raise up to $800 million in its Nasdaq IPO. 

6. BioNTech