BioNTech enters PD-L1/VEGF bispecific deal with China-based Biotheus

Nov. 6, 2023

BioNTech and Biotheus have inked a deal under which BioNTech will develop, manufacture and commercialize Biotheus' bispecific antibody candidate globally ex-Greater China, marking the latest in BioNTech's spree of deal-making with Chinese partners.

Under the terms of the license and collaboration agreement, Biotheus will receive an upfront payment of $55 million, and is eligible to receive additional milestone payments potentially totaling over $1 billion as well as tiered royalties on potential future sales.

The asset, PM8002, is a bispecific antibody candidate with humanized anti-PD-L1 single heavy-chain variable (VHH) domains fused to an anti-VEGF-A IgG1 antibody containing Fc-silencing mutations. It is currently being tested in phase 2 studies in China to evaluate its efficacy and safety as a monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy in patients with advanced solid tumors. According to Biotheus, PM8002 has demonstrated a positive safety profile and encouraging antitumor activity presumably through reduced systemic toxicity by enriching anti-VEGF activity into the tumor microenvironment

This is the second tie-up for the two partners. Back in July, the companies signed a research collaboration around a preclinical bispecific antibody and a clinical-stage mAb for cancer.

For BioNTech, the move is the latest in a series of deals that have found the German biotech looking to China for innovation. In October, BioNTech announced a collaboration with China-based MediLink Therapeutics that will center on the development of an ADC targeting the human epidermal growth factor receptor 3 (HER3). BioNTech handed MediLink an upfront payment of $70 million, in a deal that could surpass $1 billion.

Back in April, BioNTech signed a deal — potentially totaling over $1.5 billion — with China-based biotech DualityBio to co-develop and commercialize two cancer ADC candidates. The collaboration marked BioNTech’s official foray into ADCs.