BioNTech will receive the licenses from Duality Biologics for two investigational antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) assets, which aim to treat various cancers.
BioNTech became a household name through its second collaboration with Pfizer after the success of BNT162b2 (Comirnaty), which was the first messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency use approval in December 2020.
However, the Germany-based firm has looked beyond mRNA as its dominant modality and has invested in cell therapies, and various antibodies, but BioNTech has not tapped into ADCs until now.
The deal with China-based biotech company DualityBio will see BioNTech pay $170 million upfront to develop, produce, and commercialize two ADC assets globally, excluding Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macau Special Administrative Region, and Mainland China. DB-1303 is a topoisomerase-1 inhibitor targeted at Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2), a target that is overexpressed in different cancers and DB-1311 is an ADC compromised of a humanized antibody, which aims to address medical needs across a wide range of cancers.
“While our portfolio already includes multiple antibody formats, including mono- and bispecific immune-activating antibodies and tumor antigen-specific targeted antibodies, ADCs offer a combinatory approach. They are cancer therapies that are designed to combine the selectivity of antibodies with the cell-killing properties of chemotherapy or other anti-cancer agents,” a spokesperson for BioNTech told BioProcess Insider.
“Our aim is to provide therapeutic benefits for each cancer indication, along the entire patient journey. Over the last years, the ADC field has made significant progress, overcoming several limitations and demonstrating its potential as a broadly applicable precision medicine drug class that might be an alternative to standard chemotherapy.”
The spokesperson could not disclose where the work will take place but said the firm “will update in the usual manner as soon as there is relevant news.”
In addition to the upfront payment of $170 million, DualityBio also has the potential to receive over $1.5 billion in development, regulatory and commercial milestones payments for both assets.