Pharma Focus Asia

BioNTech to Acquire Antibody Generation Unit of MAB Discovery

Friday, January 25, 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 Medicine1.

“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.

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