BioNTech partnering with UK Government on personalized mRNA cancer immunotherapies

iNeST tumor anaylsis. Photo/BioNTech
inest tumor analysis

BioNTech SE has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of the United Kingdom.

The deal is set to benefit patients by speeding up clinical trials for personalized mRNA immunotherapies. The aim is to provide personalized cancer therapies for up to 10,000 patients by the end of 2030, either through clinical trials or as authorized treatments. 

This is part of a multi-year collaboration focused on three strategic pillars: cancer immunotherapies based on mRNA or other drug classes, infectious disease vaccines, and investments into expanding BioNTech’s footprint in the UK as one of the company’s key markets.

As part of the MoU, BioNTech and the UK Government plan to accelerate trial site and patient recruitment for clinical candidates of BioNTech’s pipeline for personalized mRNA cancer immunotherapies and infectious disease vaccines. To achieve this, the parties plan to utilize the UK’s clinical trial network, genomics and health data assets. 

Next steps

The next steps of the collaboration will be the selection of candidates, trial sites and the set-up of a development plan with the aim of being ready to enroll the first cancer patient in the second half of 2023. BioNTech intends to design and roll out randomized trials in adjuvant or metastatic settings with registrational potential for the Company’s personalized mRNA cancer immunotherapies in the U.K. 

“The U.K. successfully delivered COVID-19 vaccines so quickly because the National Health Service, academia, the regulator and the private sector worked together in an exemplary way. This agreement is a result of the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic as we all experience that drug development can be accelerated without cutting corners if everyone works seamlessly together towards the same goal. Today’s agreement shows that we are committed to do the same for cancer patients,” said Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech. 

“Our goal is to accelerate the development of immunotherapies and vaccines using technologies we have been researching for over 20 years. The collaboration will cover various cancer types and infectious diseases affecting collectively hundreds of millions of people worldwide. If successful, this collaboration has the potential to improve outcomes for patients and provide early access to our suite of cancer immunotherapies as well as to innovative vaccines against infectious diseases – in the UK and worldwide.” 

Investment in Cambridge

BioNTech plans to invest in a UK research and development hub in Cambridge with an expected capacity of more than 70 scientists, the first to commence R&D by the end of the first quarter 2023. 

In addition, the company will strengthen its UK footprint by setting up a regional headquarter in London to accommodate employees in global and regional supporting functions including Regulatory, Medical, Intellectual Property and Legal. As part of the MoU, BioNTech will remain the local sponsor of current and upcoming new clinical trials of its programs in the U.K. and will design the clinical trial protocols. 

Personalized treatments

As of today, several hundred patients have been treated with mRNA-based cancer immunotherapies as part of BioNTech’s trials for product candidates from the company’s FixVac and iNeST1 platforms. Since its founding, BioNTech has been developing mRNA-based cancer therapies targeting a patient’s unique tumor. 

In 2012, the first mRNA-based personalized cancer therapy developed by BioNTech was administered in a first-in-human trial. The first patient to receive a fully individualized mRNA-based cancer therapy developed by BioNTech was treated in a clinical trial in 2014. In 2015, the first patient received an exploratory mRNA-based cancer treatment intravenously, with BioNTech pioneering the first intravenous nanoparticle delivery of mRNA vaccines in humans. The company 

continues to evaluate various combinations of mRNA backbone and delivery technologies with the aim of identifying highly efficient candidates with a favorable safety profile.

COVID vaccine

In collaboration with Pfizer, BioNTech developed the first COVID-19 vaccine, which was approved in the U.K., the U.S. and the European Union, making it the first-in-class mRNA drug product in the history of medicine. 

In addition to the approved COVID-19 vaccine, BioNTech’s infectious diseases vaccine pipeline includes influenza and shingles vaccine programs, which are also partnered with Pfizer, as well as a fully owned malaria vaccine program and a herpes-simplex-virus-2 vaccine program. In total, the company is running research and preclinical development programs targeting more than 10 additional infectious diseases.

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