BioNTech Expands Cancer Portfolio With US Biotech Acquisition

BioNTech Malignant cells and antibodies

German cancer specialist BioNTech will acquire US T-cell therapy biotech Neon Therapeutics in a deal worth €60M, both to expand its cancer therapy pipeline and establish a US base. 

The deal is expected to complete in the second half of 2020, after which Neon will operate as a subsidiary of BioNTech. BioNTech has arguably scooped a good deal, as €60M is noticeably lower than Nasdaq-listed Neon’s earlier private fundraising rounds and its 2018 IPO of €90M

The acquisition should help BioNTech solidify its position in the US market, after launching on the Nasdaq late in 2019. The German biotech has a large portfolio of cancer therapeutics that includes mRNA therapies, CAR-T and TCR cell therapies, checkpoint inhibitors, antibody drugs, and small molecules. It also achieved a large series B fundraising round of €290M last summer. 

BioNTech has a policy of targeting cancer across multiple fronts and creating personalized therapies. “Our vision is to address cancer and in order to address cancer, you have to recognize that each patient is unique. This means that some approaches will be good for one patient, but there may be other approaches more appropriate to use for another,” its Chief Business and Commercial Officer Sean Marett told Labiotech in a recent interview. 

Neon has expertise in creating such personalized treatments. It produces cell therapies that target specific cancers by modifying T-cells from the immune system to zone in on tumor-specific molecules called neoantigens. It has two such treatments in its pipeline focusing on solid tumors, both of which are undergoing preclinical development. 

In addition to helping it become a more global company, the acquisition of Neon will help BioNTech expand its cancer pipeline and bring on board relevant immuno-oncology expertise in what is becoming more and more of a crowded field. 

“This acquisition fits with our strategy to expand our capabilities and build our presence in the US and further strengthens our immunotherapy pipeline,” stated Ugur Sahin, co-founder and CEO of BioNTech. 

“I am particularly excited about the adoptive T cell and neoantigen TCR therapies being developed by Neon, which are complementary to our pipeline and our focus on solid tumors.”

Images via Shutterstock

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