BioNTech, Medigene announce immunotherapy partnership

Feb. 22, 2022

BioNTech will be paying $29 million to German-based biotech Medigene for a preclinical T-cell receptor program (TCR), as a part of a three-year cancer collaboration that also gives BioNTech exclusive options on other TCRs, the companies announced.

The deal will give BioNTech control of a preclinical program that targets PRAME, an antigen highly expressed in solid tumors. Medigene genetically modified T-cells to express a TCR against the antigen and to trigger a switch receptor meant to prevent inhibition within the tumor microenvironment.  

Other partners will collaborate on the development of TCRs, and Medigene will continue to apply its discovery platform to solid tumor targets. In exchange, BioNTech is paying approximately $29 million upfront, including research funding for the collaboration. The current agreement also provides BioNTech licenses to Medigene’s PD1-41BB precision pairing library and switch receptor.

While BioNTech’s recent time in the spotlight has mostly come because of its mRNA capabilities, immunotherapies have been a priority for the company in the last few years. 

The biotech has been investing in cell therapy collaborations for a while, entering a partnership with Crescendo Biologics to develop engineered cell therapies and purchasing Kite’s TCR platform.