Sanofi is investing $91.5 million in BioNTech as part of an expansion to its existing collaboration initiated in 2015.
At the same time, BioNTech has entered into an agreement with Sanofi to co-develop the first cancer immunotherapy candidate from the collaboration that is entering clinical testing in multiple solid tumours.
This follows BioNTech’s decision from early 2018 to exercise one of its option rights under the 2015 research collaboration to co-develop and co-commercialise this product candidate with Sanofi.
The investigational therapy consists of an mRNA mixture encoding immunomodulatory cytokines that are injected directly into the tumour.
Local administration of immunotherapies to the tumour microenvironment provides the opportunity to stimulate innate and adaptive immune responses against tumours, while potentially avoiding toxicities related to systemic administration of immuno-modulatory therapeutics.
“The extension of the research collaboration and equity investment demonstrates a deepening of our partnership with Sanofi as we seek to rapidly drive novel, disruptive programs through clinical testing to commercialisation together,” said Ugur Sahin, Co-Founder and CEO of BioNTech.