Biotechnology firm BioNTech has collaborated with Pfizer for the development of mRNA-based vaccines to prevent influenza (flu).
Under the deal, the partnership will carry out research and development activities for the advancement of mRNA-based flu vaccines.
BioNTech co-founder and CEO Dr Ugur Sahin said: “Today’s agreement with Pfizer is one of a number of steps that we are taking to rapidly build a sustainable R&D presence in infectious disease, combining our deep understanding of the immune system to treat disease with the cutting-edge technologies and significant infrastructure that we have built-up over many years to develop immunotherapy treatments.”
Once BioNTech completes the first in human clinical study, Pfizer will take the responsibility for further clinical development and commercialization of mRNA-based flu vaccines.
As per terms of the deal, BioNTech will secure $120m in upfront, equity and near-term research payments, as well as and up to an additional $305m in potential development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments.
BioNTech will also secure up to double-digit tiered royalty payments associated with worldwide sales, if the program achieves commercialization.
Pfizer’s vaccine research and development unit head and senior vice president Kathrin Jansen said: “Innovative vaccine approaches are urgently needed to provide improved protection against seasonal flu, and to respond rapidly and in quantity to pandemic influenza threats.”
Established in 2008, BioNTech is engaged in the development of individualized therapies for cancer and other diseases.
The firm’s technologies range from individualized mRNA-based medicines through advanced chimeric antigen receptors and T-cell receptor-based products to novel checkpoint immunomodulators and small molecules.
BioNTech noted that its commercial approach is validated by five top-tier corporate partnerships with Genentech, Genmab, Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Bayer Animal Health.
Pfizer is a major drugmaker that produces a range of medicines and vaccines, as well as various consumer health care products.
The company also collaborates with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to affordable health care across the globe.