BioNTech inks CAR-T partnership with Autolus

Feb. 8, 2024

BioNTech and UK-based biotech Autolus Therapeutics have announced a strategic collaboration aimed at advancing both companies’ autologous CAR-T programs towards commercialization.

In connection with the alliance, the companies entered into a license and option agreement and a securities purchase agreement.

Per the license and option agreement, BioNTech will make a cash payment of $50 million. In exchange, BioNTech will get access to Autolus’ commercial and clinical site network and manufacturing capacities in the UK and commercial supply infrastructure in order to accelerate the development of its experimental CAR-T thereapy, BNT211, in additional CLDN6+ tumor types.

BioNTech will support launch and expanded development of Autolus’ lead cell therapy candidate, obe-cel, and will receive a royalty on net sales. The CD19 CAR-T therapy is currently in the hands of regulators for approval in relapsed/refractory adult B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Additionally, BioNTech will get co-commercialization options for Autolus’ AUTO1/22 and AUTO6NG programs and the option to access a suite of Autolus target binders and cell programming technologies to support BioNTech’s development of in vivo cell therapy and ADC candidates.

In terms of the securities purchase portion of the deal, BioNTech has agreed to buy $200 million of Autolus’ American depositary shares in a private placement. BioNTech will have the right to appoint a director to the Board of Autolus.

The collaboration is the latest in a spree of deal-making for BioNTech. Last month, the German biotech agreed to pay WuXi $20 million upfront for exclusive rights to two investigational monoclonal antibodies. In November, BioNTech signed a potential $1 billion deal with Zhuhai-based Biotheus to develop a bispecific antibody candidate against solid tumors. In October, BioNTech announced a potential $1 billion collaboration with China-based MediLink Therapeutics that centered on the development of an ADC targeting HER3.