The Single Family Office behind the Covid-19 Vaccine

Today there is a global feeling of hope as the news sinks in that we might just have a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year.

Yesterday it was announced that multinational US pharmaceutical company, Pfizer and German Immunotherapy Company, BioNTech had found their vaccine to be 90% effective in preventing Covid-19.

Pfizer released a statement on November 9th, documenting that of their 43,538 trial participants, analysis evaluated just 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and within minutes, the world was latching onto the idea of returning to some degree of normality by the new year.

Professor Sir John Bell, one of the UK Government’s scientific advisors went as far as suggesting; with some confidence, that the UK will return to normal by Spring.

But, while we celebrate the incredible and deserving scientists who have created this vaccine, who is BioNTech and most importantly, who funds them?

It seems behind the brilliant scientists at BioNTech sit two brothers in a Single Family Office in Munich.

Andreas and Thomas Strüngmann and their Single Family Office; Athos Service GmbH, control BioNTech holding 50.33% through investment. They have significantly funded the company and it appears it has massively paid off, of course from a public health perspective, but financially too.

BioNTech was listed on Nasdaq with a market cap on November 9th at 14:00 Eastern Time of $25.3BN, valuing Athos Services stake at $12.73BN. Stock price has exponentially increased by 499% in the past 12 months; mostly fuelled by the last 24 hours of coverage, and has risen from $17.64 to yesterday’s prime of $105.74.

The Strüngmann brothers have a long-standing history in pharmaceuticals and founded the German pharma company Hexal which they sold for $7.5BN in 2005. Since then, they have actively invested in the industry through their Family Office and some 15 years later appear to be one of the few Single Family Offices globally who have a single holding in their portfolio valued at over $12BN.

The news offers both a glimmer of hope for global recovery as well as an insight into the pivotal role Family Offices can play in early-stage science ventures. With 53% of Family Offices’ diversifying their investment portfolio as a direct result of Covid-19, has the investment landscape been changed forever?