BioNTech, Pfizer join forces to develop mRNA-based flu vaccines

BioNTech, a German biotechnology company, has joined forces with US pharma giant Pfizer to develop mRNA-based flu vaccines as part of a $425 million multi-year research and development (R&D) collaboration.

As per the terms of the deal, BioNTech and Pfizer will jointly take up research and development activities for advancing mRNA-based vaccines to prevent influenza (flu).

Pfizer will be solely responsible for further clinical development and commercialization of mRNA-based flu vaccines once BioNTech completes a first in human clinical trial.

Kathrin Jansen – Senior Vice President and Head of Pfizer’s Vaccine Research and Development Unit, commenting on BioNTech collaboration with Pfizer, said: “Innovative vaccine approaches are urgently needed to provide improved protection against seasonal flu, and to respond rapidly and in quantity to pandemic influenza threats. mRNA vaccines offer a novel approach to code for any protein or multiple proteins, and the potential to manufacture higher potency flu vaccines more rapidly and at a lower cost than contemporary flu vaccines.

“BioNTech is one of the industry leaders in mRNA technology and we are looking forward to working closely with them to help bring cutting-edge mRNA influenza vaccines to the market to improve people’s lives.”

BioNTech, Pfizer form alliance to develop mRNA-based flu vaccines

BioNTech, Pfizer form alliance to develop mRNA-based flu vaccines. Photo courtesy of BioNTech AG.

Under the terms, BioNTech will get an upfront amount of $120 million from Pfizer followed by equity and near-term research payments and up to a further $305 million in payments associated with potential development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

Apart from that, the German biotechnology company will stand to earn up to double-digit tiered royalty payments related to global sales if the mRNA-based flu vaccine program achieves commercialization.

Commenting on BioNTech collaboration with Pfizer, Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin – Co-Founder and CEO of BioNTech, said: “Today’s agreement with Pfizer is one of a number of steps that we are taking to rapidly build a sustainable R&D presence in infectious disease, combining our deep understanding of the immune system to treat disease with the cutting-edge technologies and significant infrastructure that we have built-up over many years to develop immunotherapy treatments.

“A significant presence in infectious disease supports our goal of building a global immunotherapy company that provides more effective and precise immune-mediated approaches for the prevention and treatment of serious illnesses, such as the prevention of flu and the treatment of cancer.”

For more updates on the development of the mRNA-based flu vaccines and news related to BioNTech and Pfizer, keep following

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