Covington, Freshfields-Led Biotech Co. Nabs $251M Financing

By Sierra Jackson
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Law360 (June 29, 2020, 6:21 PM EDT) -- Cancer and infectious diseases-focused biotechnology company BioNTech said Monday it received a $251 million private investment from investors, including Singaporean government investment company Temasek Holdings, in a deal advised on by Covington & Burling LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

Germany-based BioNTech SE said the investors would receive a total of more than 2.59 million shares for about $139 million, bringing the share price to $53.54 apiece. That's a 13.8% discount to Friday's closing price.

The other $112 million was raised through four-year mandatory convertible notes.

Information on who the other investors were was not immediately available.

BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin shared his excitement about Temasek's involvement in a statement.

"We are pleased to welcome Temasek on board as a new shareholder. We believe their long-term investment approach, global presence and deep experience in the biotechnology field are a good fit with our vision to build a leading global biopharmaceutical company," Sahin said.

The biotechnology company is currently working on 27 products, mostly cancer treatments, according to its website. Ten of the drug company's products are being reviewed in clinical trials.

Among its products, BioNTech also lists a vaccine for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that's being developed in collaboration with Chinese and U.S. biopharmaceutical companies Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Pfizer Inc., respectively. The vaccine was created based on BioNTech's therapies using the single-stranded mRNA molecule that complements a strand of DNA.

BioNTech is also creating a flu vaccine with Pfizer. Partners for other projects include Eli Lilly and Co., Sanofi SA, Bayer AG's animal health branch and Siemens AG.

The deal with Temasek, whose net portfolio value was 313 billion Singaporean dollars ($224.5 million) in March 2019, is set to close in early to mid-August once the usual closing conditions are met.

Temasek led a $65 million funding round for SQZ Biotechnologies Co., another biotechnology company aiming to treat cancer and infectious diseases, in May.

A representative for Temasek declined to comment beyond the press release late Monday and a representative for BioNTech was not immediately available to comment beyond the press release.

BioNTech was represented by its Vice President of Legal and Intellectual Property James Ryan with assistance from Peter Versteegen of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP on German law matters and Brian Rosenzweig, Matt Gehl and Lilit Kazangyan from Covington & Burling LLP on U.S. law matters.

Counsel information for Temasek was not immediately available Monday.

--Editing by Stephen Berg.

This story has been updated with Temasek declining to comment and more counsel information.

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