Amount: $325 million
Round: series B
Investors: Athena Capital, BVCF Management, Fidelity Investments, Invus, Jebsen Capital, Mirae Asset Financial Group, Platinum Asset Management, Redmile Group, Struengmann Family Office
With a $325 million series B round, BioNTech topped this year’s list after coming sixth in 2018. The German biotech came to the venture market relatively late, having relied on $180 million in seed capital from a family office for the first 10 years of its life. It used the cash and the long runway it provided to develop multiple cancer treatment platforms simultaneously.
“With that, we were able to build the company and its technologies over a six-year period. … The plan was always to build a global biotech company,” BioNTech Chief Operating Officer Sean Marrett told FierceBiotech. “And when the science was right, we looked to expand our footprint through partnerships.”
Those partnerships included one with Pfizer to develop mRNA vaccines against influenza, which netted it $120 million upfront, with more than $300 million to follow in milestone payments. The duo expanded their relationship in 2020 to jointly develop and distribute an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 outside of China.
Although 2019 is the second time BioNTech is on this list, it will be the last, as the company filed for its Nasdaq IPO in September, eventually raising $150 million in its listing the following month.