BioNTech jumps into ADCs with $1.5B DualityBio deal

April 3, 2023

BioNTech has signed a deal with China-based biotech DualityBio to co-develop and commercialize two cancer antibody-drug conjugate candidates.

The collaboration will add an additional drug class, ADCs, to BioNTech’s oncology portfolio with the aim to further support BioNTech’s mission of developing highly efficacious therapies for cancer patients at every stage of disease.

As part of the collaboration, BioNTech will gain access to DualityBio’s lead candidate, DB-1303, which is a topoisomerase-1 inhibitor-based ADC directed against Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2), a target that is overexpressed in a variety of cancers, which contributes to the aggressive growth and spread of cancer cells. The asset is currently in phase 2 trials and has been granted Fast Track designation from the U.S. FDA. BioNTech will also gain access to a second topoisomerase-1 inhibitor-based ADC candidate, DB-1311.

DualityBio will receive upfront payments for both asset licenses totaling $170 million, and additional development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments for both assets, potentially totaling over $1.5 billion.

ADCs, designed to preferentially kill cancer cells and limit off-target toxicities, are emerging as a powerful tool across a broad range of cancers — and a hot area for investment. A few weeks ago, Pfizer revealed a $43 billion deal to acquire the ADC technology pioneer, Seagen. The following day, Synaffix and MacroGenics announced that they had expanded their next-gen ADCs partnership. Last month, AstraZeneca inked a potential $1.1 billion deal with China-based KYM Biosciences for a potential first-in-class ADC targeting Claudin 18.2.