BioNTech : Pfizer, BioNTech to Work Together on Potential Coronavirus Vaccine

Drugmakers will start collaboration immediately

Drugmakers will start collaboration immediately

These types of vaccines do not rely on samples of the coronavirus to be effective.

Mainz-based BioNTech, founded in 2008 and listed on the Nasdaq exchange in October past year, said it intends to initiate clinical testing for the compound called BNT162 in Europe, the United States and China.

The companies will begin to work together with immediate effect, although the financial terms of the agreement and clauses relating to the manufacture, development and commercialisation are yet to be finalised.

BioNTech will also work with Fosun Pharma on conducting clinical trials of BNT162 in China, leveraging BioNTech's proprietary mRNA vaccine technology and Fosun Pharma's clinical development and commercialization capabilities in China.

The companies said they would use BioNTech's mRNA-based drug development platform and will use research and development sites from the two companies in both the U.S. and Germany.

The collaboration aims to accelerate development of BioNTech's potential first-in-class COVID-19 mRNA vaccine program, BNT162, which is expected to enter clinical testing by the end of April 2020, said a statement issued by BioNTech on Tuesday.

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If regulators approve the vaccine, Fosun will market it in China, while BioNTech will retain rights for the rest of the world. As an initial payment, Fosun has agreed to pay €44M for 1.5M ordinary shares of equity in BioNTech.

Pfizer's plan promises to help scientists more rapidly bring forward therapies and vaccines to protect humankind from this escalating pandemic and prepare the industry to better respond to future global health crises.

Shares of BioNTech exploded higher over the past two days after the German drugmaker announced agreements with Pfizer and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical.

"We are working closely together with regulatory agencies and our existing collaborators in the infectious disease field, including Pfizer, to rapidly initiate trials in order to make a vaccine available to the public as quickly as possible worldwide", commented Founder and CEO of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin. Yesterday, Moderna enrolled the first U.S. patient into the first ever clinical trail of a Covid-19 vaccine.

BioNTech's unlisted German competitor CureVac plans to be prepared by July to request approval for testing on humans of an experimental vaccine. Its broad portfolio of oncology product candidates includes individualized and off-the-shelf mRNA-based therapies, innovative chimeric antigen receptor T cells, bi-specific checkpoint immuno-modulators, targeted cancer antibodies and small molecules.

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