GERMANY – German biotechnology company basedBioNTech, has entered into a strategic partnership with Autolus Therapeutics, in a bid to bolster its cell therapy capabilities. 

Under the terms of the deal that will also involve significant investments and licensing opportunities, BioNTech will invest up to US$250 million in Autolus, gaining licensing possibilities and access to supply infrastructure.  

Notably, BioNTech will receive royalties on sales of Autolus’ obe-cel, a CAR-T therapy for leukemia pending potential FDA approval by November 16. 

 Additionally, BioNTech has options to co-commercialize two earlier programs in Autolus’ pipeline and acquire a suite of technologies. 

Crucially, the partnership provides BioNTech with access to Autolus’ manufacturing capacity, facilitating the acceleration of its BNT211 cell therapy for cancer. 

 BNT211, a CAR-T treatment targeted at certain solid tumors, is slated for a pivotal Phase 2 trial in second-line or later treatment of germ cell cancer this year. 

The collaboration aims to expedite the development and commercialization of cell therapies, with Autolus benefiting from BioNTech’s financial backing while BioNTech gains access to critical clinical and commercial supply infrastructure. 

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As part of the agreement, BioNTech will purchase $200 million of Autolus’ American Depositary Shares in a private placement, entitling BioNTech to appoint a director to Autolus’ board.  

Additionally, Autolus has announced an offering of over 58 million American Depositary Shares at $6 each, raising $350 million, which will extend the company’s operational runway well into 2025. 

The financial influx from BioNTech’s investment will bolster Autolus’ operations and expedite its research and development efforts. 

 BioNTech, buoyed by the success of its COVID-19 vaccine collaboration with Pfizer, continues to explore strategic partnerships and investments in promising biotech companies. 

 Last year, BioNTech ventured into antibody-drug conjugates through a licensing deal with China’s Duality Biologics and acquired rights to a new cancer drug from privately held OncoC4. 

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