Mainz and Munich, Germany, January 23, 2019 – BioNTech AG, a rapidly growing biotechnology company developing precise and individualized immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and the prevention of infectious diseases, and MAB Discovery GmbH, a unique player in the generation and development of sophisticated and therapeutically relevant monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), today announced that both partners have entered into a definitive agreement under which BioNTech will acquire MAB Discovery’s operational antibody generation unit.
Under the terms of the agreement, BioNTech will acquire all assets, employees and proprietary know-how for mAb generation from MAB Discovery. MAB Discovery will retain ownership of and all rights to both its proprietary preclinical development pipeline and its existing third-party service agreements. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The acquisition follows a successful collaboration between the companies that started over five years ago, in which antibodies have been generated with MAB Discovery’s proprietary technology that are currently being further developed by BioNTech.
“Having exclusive access to MAB Discovery’s finely-tuned proprietary know-how dramatically expands BioNTech’s targeting ligand repertoire and enables us to directly, rapidly and efficiently produce new mAb candidates,” said Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-Founder of BioNTech. “The technology will be utilized with our existing proprietary platforms including RiboMABS®, a platform for generating a novel class of mRNA-encoded antibody drug candidates.”
Administration of mRNA encoding an antibody using BioNTech’s RiboMABS® platform enables the human body to synthesize the corresponding protein antibody with therapeutic potential. This approach may profoundly reduce the complexity of future antibody drug development and increase the inventory of antibodies that could be used to treat disease. In 2017, BioNTech published the application of this technology for mRNA-based in vivo delivery of T cell-engaging bispecific antibodies for the potential treatment of cancer in Nature Medicine[i].
“This transaction will ensure the further development and expansion of MAB Discovery’s unique mAb generation platform. We are glad to see that our proprietary technology has already generated unique mAbs for BioNTech and we are proud that MAB Discovery’s operational unit will become an integral part of BioNTech and its future value generation,” said Dr. Stephan Fischer, CEO of MAB Discovery. “MAB Discovery will now focus on further developing its proprietary mAbs with external partners.”
The acquisition will be completed and the antibody generation unit transitioned at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
BioNTech is Europe’s largest privately-held biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of more precise and individualized therapies for cancer and the prevention of infectious diseases. The company combines all building blocks for more precise and individualized immunotherapies under one roof – from diagnostics and drug development to manufacturing. Its cutting-edge technologies range from individualized mRNA-based product candidates through innovative chimeric antigen receptors and T-cell receptor-based compounds to novel checkpoint immunomodulators and small molecules. BioNTech’s commercial approach is validated by seven corporate partnerships with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, Pfizer, Genmab, Eli Lilly and Company, Sanofi, Genevant and Bayer Animal Health and its scientific approach through over 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including five publications in Nature. Founded in 2008, BioNTech’s financial shareholders include the Struengmann Family Office as its majority shareholder, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Invus, Janus Henderson Investors, MIG Fonds, Redmile Group, Salvia and several European family offices. For more information, please see: www.biontech.de
About MAB Discovery
Founded in 2010 by Dr. Stephan Fischer, MAB Discovery utilizes a unique and proprietary rabbit-based antibody discovery platform to generate and develop high quality, functional monoclonal antibodies targeting traditional proteins and receptors as well as a wide variety of more challenging immunogens such as GPCRs and ion channels. The MAB Discovery team has extensive experience in developing antibody-based therapeutics having worked together at Roche Biologicals for several years. In recent years, MABD used its proprietary platform to generate various mAbs for several pharma partners and for the generation of proprietary mAbs focusing on highly attractive targets with proven therapeutic relevance.
Elimination of large tumors in mice by mRNA-encoded bispecific antibodies, in: Nature Medicine volume 23, pages 815–817 (2017)