Pfizer, one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies announced a partnership with Mainz, Germany based BioNTech, to co-develop and distribute (excluding China) a potential mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19 infection. The company’s executed a Material Transfer and Collaboration Agreement to enable the parties to commence immediately on collaborative activity.
Potentially Commence Clinical Trials by April 2020
As TrialSite News has reported, Moderna has commenced an mRNA-based vaccine candidate to great amount of news attention. This Pfizer-based effort aims to accelerate the development of BioNTech’s potential first-in-class COVID-19 mRNA vaccine program, BNT162, which is expected to enter clinical testing by the end of April 2020.
Built on Existing Relationship
The two companies have already been working together as it turns out. Since 2018, they entered into an agreement to develop mRNA-based vaccines for the prevention of Influenza, including BNT162.
Who is BioNTech?
BioNTech reports to be a next generation immunotherapy company pioneering novel therapies for cancer and other serious diseases. The company exploits a wide array of computational discovery and therapeutic drug platforms for the rapid development of novel biopharmaceuticals. It includes a portfolio of oncology product candidates including individualized off-the-shelf mRNA-based therapies, innovative chimeric antigen receptor T cells, bi-specific checkpoint immuno-modulators, targeted cancer antibodies, and small molecules.
The company has inked partnership deals with more than just Pfizer. For example, they have established partnerships with Eli Lilly, Genmab, Sanofi, Bayer Animal Health, Genetech (Roche), Genevant, Fosun, and of course Pfizer.
One of Europe’s Largest Privately-held Biotech
BioNTech, headquartered in Germany, has raised over $740 million since its founding in 2008 and is purported to be one of Europe’s largest privately-held biotech firms. Employing about 650, investors include MIG Fonds, Salvia and the Struengmann Family Office (majority shareholder). Their initial Series A financing was led by Redmile Group and Janus Henderson Investors, as well as Invus, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and several European family offices.
What are their Core Technologies?
mRNA Pharmaceuticals: BioNTech is building three therapy platforms using pharmacologically optimized protein coding mRNA with targeted in vivo delivery to individualize cancer immunotherapy, for prophylactic vaccines and protein replacement therapies.
· Cell & Gene Therapies: BioNTech develops genetically engineered T cells utilizing either antigen-specific T cell receptors (TCRs) or chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for the treatment of cancer and chronic infections.
· Protein Therapeutics: BioNTech has three key protein therapy platforms: bispecific antibodies, Microbodies® and Virus Like Particles developed for cancer immunotherapy.
· Small Molecules: BioNTech Small Molecule´s research activities are focused on innovative therapies for cancer indications, with a special interest in immuno-oncology.
BioNTech develops and commercializes a broad product pipeline using different scientific approaches and cutting-edge technology platforms. BioNTech´s clinical pipeline represents a number of industry firsts.