Maravai LifeSciences, who manufactures capping reagents for Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, IPO opens 18% above issue price

On Friday, November 20, 2020, Pfizer and BioNTech announced their intention to submit a request for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 vaccine BNT16sb2. Studies have shown the vaccine to have a 95% success rate with no observed safety concerns. Pfizer announced the potential to produce 50,000,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of 2020, and as many as 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. Based on that schedule, vaccinations could be made available to high-risk populations in the United States by mid-December 2020 assuming the EUA is issued by the FDA. Pfizer trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PFE. BioNTech trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol BNTX.

On the same date as Pfizer and BioNTech announced their application for a EUA, biotechnology firm Maravai LifeSciences Holdings Inc. joined the markets with its initial public offering (IPO). Maravai is a San Diego, California-based company that researches and develops products related to the development and manufacturing of vaccines, including the BNT16sb2 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maravai provides a capping reagent to both Pfizer and BioNTech for the companies’ vaccine. Approximately 14% of Maravai’s revenue in the first three quarters of 2020 was derived from Pfizer. Capping reagents have been reported to account for over one-half of the total costs of producing mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s BNT16sb2 vaccine for COVID-19.

Maravai priced its IPO at $27 per share and issued 60,000,000 on Nasdaq under the symbol MRVI. While Maravai’s shares were priced at $27/share for its IPO, Maravai’s shares opened at $31.95 on November 20, 2020.

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