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Early backers of vaccine maker BioNTech in $719-million payday

German venture capital firm MIG AG, which was among the first backers of COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech, has paid 600 million euros ($719 million) to its investors, cashing out parts of an initial investment of 13.5 million euros.

MIG said on Thursday, February 4, that investors in its funds would now receive 340 million euros from the sale of an unspecified stake in BioNTech, following a payout of 260 million euros last year.

MIG's funds have provided funding to BioNTech, which developed the vaccine with United States drugmaker Pfizer, since the German biotech company's inception in 2008.

BioNTech now has a market capitalization of around $28.4 billion, more than 8 times its valuation of $3.4 billion when it made its stock market debut on the Nasdaq exchange in October 2019.

MIG AG general partner Kristian Schmidt-Garve said the investment firm was proud of BioNTech's role in fighting the pandemic.

"We are also very pleased that we could realize considerable returns for the shareholders in the involved funds, which amount to a multiple of the initial deposits," he added.

MIG did not say how many BioNTech shares were sold and how many it still holds in the company.

According to the prospectus of a $512-million BioNTech capital increase in July 2020, 3 MIG funds held a combined 3.9% in BioNTech after the capital raise, down from 4.4% before because they sold some shares.

BioNTech's largest shareholders are biotech investors Thomas and Andreas Struengmann, who hold about half of the company's shares between them. – Rappler.com