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UPDATE 1-Vaccine pioneer BioNTech hires former Morphosys exec as finance chief

* Jens Holstein to become CFO in July

* Sierk Poetting to focus on role as head of operations

* Poetting to oversee further vaccine output expansion

* Holstein joins from Morphosys (Adds background on BioNTech, Holstein)

FRANKFURT, May 18 (Reuters) - BioNTech, the Pfizer partner that invented the Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine, has appointed former Morphosys executive Jens Holstein as chief financial officer to help it grow into a global immunotherapy company.

Sierk Poetting, who is finance chief and chief operating officer, will focus on the latter role when Holstein joins in July, to further expand BioNTech’s global vaccine production network, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

BioNTech in December became the first Western company to win preliminary approval for its vaccine to prevent the life threatening disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Holstein will oversee a massive inflow of cash that will potentially fuel the ambitions of BioNTech’s co-founder and Chief Executive Ugur Sahin to develop precision immunotherapies against various forms of cancer and other diseases.

Vaccine supply deals lined up for this year alone are worth 12.4 billion euros ($15.1 billion) in revenue for BioNTech, with more contracts on the cards.

Holstein quit as Morphosys CFO in December to pursue new challenges after almost 10 years there. During his tenure, Morphosys added a Nasdaq flotation to its listing in Germany and won approval for its first product, Tremfya against psoriasis.

Previously, Holstein served in various finance and management positions at diversified healthcare group Fresenius SE. ($1 = 0.8190 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Caroline Copley and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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