BioNTech, Matinas end oral mRNA vaccine collaboration

May 11, 2023

New Jersey-based Matinas BioPharma announced this week that its collaboration with BioNTech has ended, after its oral mRNA vaccine failed to demonstrate preclinical activity.

As a part of its first-quarter financial reports for the year, Matinas also provided a business update relating to its $2.75 million partnership with BioNTech, which began in April 2022. Under the terms of their agreement, Matinas received an upfront access fee to work exclusively with BioNTech to leverage Matinas' proprietary lipid nanocrystal (LNC) platform technology to advance mRNA vaccine formulations.

After just a little over a year, Matinas’ CEO Jerome D. Jabbour said that while the collaboration has ended, all is not lost. “While disappointing, we recognize that this was an ambitious goal for a first in vivo study of a new, unique mRNA formulation, where, to date, no delivery technology has been successful in achieving oral delivery of mRNA,” Jabbour said, adding, “We continue to believe that our technology has potential to provide differentiated delivery of nucleic acids and are in the process of generating additional data.”

The recent announcement marks the second collaboration gone south for Matinas this year. In January, Gilead decided to strike out on its own in a quest to develop an oral formulation of its COVID antiviral remdesivir, walking away from its partnership with Matinas. The two began working together in 2020, when Matinas announced the plan to collaborate with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to test oral formulations of remdesivir in preclinical models.