BioNTech, a company that has risen to prominence with its COVOD-19 vaccine and partnership with Pfizer has now announced its acquistion of Kite’s solid tumour neoantigen T cell receptor (TCR) R&D platform as well as its clinical manufacturing facility in Gaithersburg in Maryland, United States. Although the financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, it is announced that Kite will get a one-time upfront payment from BioNTech for its solid tumour neoantigen TCR discovery platform and clinical manufacturing facility.
BioNTech plans to use the R&D and clinical manufacturing facility to accelerate the development and expansion of novel cell therapies in its pipelines. According to its official press release, the facility will be complementing its existing cell therapy manufacturing facility in Germany. Kite has another manufacturing facility in Maryland, which is being used for commercial production of its CAR T-cell therapy and is not a part of the purchase agreement.
With Kite’s neoantigen TCR platform that can be used to develop individualised TCR therapies, BioNTech aims to expand and further develop its standing in the individualised neoantigen targeting therapy landscape. BioNTech in 2020 has acquired Neon Therapeutics for USD 67 million to further expand its CAR-T and TCR therapy pipeline through addition of neoantigen specific cell therapies, including a T cell therapy targeting shared RAS oncogenes. BioNTech internal personalised neoantigen targeting therapy candidates BNT122(iNeST) and BNT221(NEOSTIM) are currently still in the clinical stage and are anticipated to be accelerated with these acquisitions.
While BioNTech strengthens it standing in cell therapy landscape, their COVID-19 vaccine is also going through its own developments. Its recent agreement with Fosun Industrial Co., Limited, a subsidiary of its partner Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical, for 10 million doses of its vaccine was followed by the news of U.S. FDA granting it vaccine a priority review for a Biologics License Application (BLA).