Moderna inks cancer vaccine collab with Immatics

Sept. 11, 2023

Moderna and Immatics announced this week that the two have joined forces in a partnership aimed at developing cancer therapeutics.

The partnership will leverage Moderna's mRNA expertise with Germany-based Immatics' extensive tumor tissue data from its target discovery platform and bioinformatics/AI platform to craft innovative mRNA-based cancer vaccines.

Under the terms of the agreement, Immatics will receive an upfront payment of $120 million and research funding, including the potential for milestone payments exceeding $1.7 billion. Clinical development and commercialization will be overseen by Moderna, while Immatics will be responsible for managing preclinical studies and potential clinical trials.

Within the collaboration, the two will also employ Immatics' focus on T cell-centered cancer immunotherapies with Moderna's advanced mRNA technology to explore a range of therapeutics, including bispecifics, cell therapy, and cancer vaccines. Specifically, the companies are planning to utilize Moderna's mRNA technology to facilitate the in vivo expression of Immatics' next-generation TCR bispecifics, which have extended half-lives and target cancer-specific HLA-presented peptides. 

The collaboration will evaluate Immatics' IMA203 TCR-T therapy, tailored to target PRAME, in combination with Moderna's PRAME mRNA-based cancer vaccine. PRAME, short for Preferentially Expressed Antigen in Melanoma, is a cancer-associated protein linked to melanoma and other cancers.