Sanofi Invests €80 Million in BioNTech

08.01.2019 -

French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi is investing €80 million in Germany’s BioNTech. At the same time, the two companies have agreed to extend their research partnership dating from 2015.

As part of the renewed pact, the German and French partners will co-develop the first RNA-based cancer immunotherapy candidate from their collaboration. The drug candidate is now entering clinical testing in multiple solid tumors.

The 2015 agreement foresees developing up to five cancer immunotherapies. Under the terms of the collaboration, BioNTech is eligible to secure $60 million in up-front and near-term milestone payments from the Paris-based drugmaker as well as more than $300 million in development, regulatory and commercial milestones and other payments per product.

BioNTech, based in Mainz, holds an option to co-develop and co-commercialize two of the five mRNA therapeutics products developed with Sanofi in the EU and the US markets.

The investigational therapy is composed of an mRNA mixture encoding immunomodulatory cytokines, which are infused directly into the tumor. The concept is that local administration of immunotherapies to the tumor microenvironment will help stimulate innate and adaptive immune responses against tumors and avoid toxicities linked to systemic administration of immuno-modulatory therapeutics.

BioNTech’s co-founder and CEO, Ugur Sahin, said the extension of the research collaboration and Sanofi’s equity investment “demonstrate a deepening of our partnership as we seek to rapidly drive novel, disruptive programs through clinical testing to commercialization together.”

Founded in 2008, the privately held German biotech regards itself as a pioneer in developing more precise and individualized therapies for cancer and the prevention of infectious diseases. The company claims to combine all building blocks under one roof – from diagnostics and drug development to manufacturing.

Including Sanofi, BioNTech has seven corporate partnerships with European and American pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The others are Genentech, Pfizer, Genmab, Eli Lilly, Genevant and Bayer Animal Health.