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Cell Therapy R&D Platform and Manufacturing Facility Acquired

July 19, 2021 • 11:46 am CDT
(Precision Vaccinations)

Germany-based BioNTech SE and a Gilead Company (Nasdaq: GILD) named Kite announced they have entered into a purchase agreement for BioNTech to acquire Kite’s solid tumor neoantigen T cell receptor (TCR) R&D platform and clinical manufacturing facility in Gaithersburg, MD.

The acquired Gaithersburg facility will provide production capacity to support clinical trials in the USA and complement BioNTech’s existing cell therapy manufacturing facility in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.

The Kite facility will support the development of BioNTech’s expanding pipeline of novel cell therapies, including cancer product candidates based on its CAR-T Cell amplifying mRNA vaccine (CARVac) and NEOSTIM platforms, as well as the newly acquired individualized neoantigen TCR program.

“The development of individualized cancer therapies is at the core of our work at BioNTech. The acquisition of the Kite facility and its individualized TCR platform allows us to accelerate the clinical development of our cell therapies in the U.S. and advance at the forefront of individualized cell therapies,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, in a press statement.

“It also strengthens our presence in the U.S., building on our successful integration of adoptive T-cell and neoantigen TCR therapies as part of our acquisition of Neon Therapeutics last year.”

TCR therapy is a type of cellular immunotherapy designed to redirect the patient’s immune system to recognize and target tumors.

In contrast to CARs that recognize antigens on the cell surface, TCR therapy involves engineering an individual’s T cells to express TCRs that can recognize peptide fragments from both intracellular and extracelluar antigens.

As a result, complex TCR therapies may be more effective in the treatment of solid tumors.

Neoantigens are immune targets derived from somatic mutations displayed by cancer cells offering the potential for more targeted antitumor activity. Kite’s neoantigen TCR platform enables the development of individualized TCR therapies that are custom designed to target individual neoantigens on a patient’s tumor.

This program builds and further extends BioNTech’s leadership in individualized neoantigen targeting programs such as BNT122 (iNeST) and BNT221 (NEOSTIM).

Financial terms were not disclosed. In addition, Kite’s new manufacturing facility in Frederick, MD, is not part of the purchase agreement.

Note: BioNTech has partnered with Pfizer, Inc. to produce the Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine.

Biopharmaceutical New Technologies (BioNTech) is a next-generation immunotherapy company pioneering novel therapies for cancer and other serious diseases.