BioNTech & Pfizer collaborate on mRNA-based influenza vaccines

Images of scientists and genome to show batten disease drug has not been recommended by NICE

BioNTech AG, a biotechnology company focused on precise immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious disease, today announced that it has entered into a multi-year research and development (R&D) collaboration with Pfizer Inc. to develop mRNA-based vaccines for prevention of influenza.

Under the terms of the agreement, BioNTech and Pfizer will jointly conduct research and development activities to help advance mRNA-based flu vaccines. Pfizer will assume sole responsibility for further clinical development and commercialisation of mRNA-based flu vaccines, following BioNTech’s completion of a first in human clinical study.

BioNTech will receive $120 million in upfront, equity and near-term research payments and up to an additional $305 million in potential development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. In addition, BioNTech will receive up to double-digit tiered royalty payments associated with worldwide sales if the program reaches commercialisation.

BioNTech is an industry leader in mRNA vaccine approaches with validated science, innovative manufacturing expertise and a broad understanding of the clinical applications of this technology.

Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin, Co-Founder and CEO of BioNTech 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. A significant presence in infectious disease supports our goal of building a global immunotherapy company that provides more effective and precise immune-mediated approaches for the prevention and treatment of serious illnesses, such as the prevention of flu and the treatment of cancer.”

Kathrin Jansen, Senior Vice President and Head of Pfizer’s Vaccine Research and Development Unit 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. mRNA vaccines offer a novel approach to code for any protein or multiple proteins, and the potential to manufacture higher potency flu vaccines more rapidly and at a lower cost than contemporary flu vaccines. BioNTech is one of the industry leaders in mRNA technology and we are looking forward to working closely with them to help bring cutting-edge mRNA influenza vaccines to the market to improve people’s lives.”