The Mainz-based pharmaceutical company Biontech wants to set up a research and development center for cancer therapy in Great Britain. The company, known for its corona vaccine, which is available early, has agreed on this with the British Ministry of Health, as the government in London announced on Friday.
The aim is to treat up to 10,000 patients with personalized mRNA cancer immunotherapies by 2030. In the context of clinical studies, early access to such previously unapproved therapies is possible.
According to Biontech, the next steps of the collaboration are the selection of the product candidates, the study sites and the creation of a development plan with the aim of enrolling the first cancer patient in a study as early as the second half of 2023. The multi-year cooperation is also about vaccines against infectious diseases, as Biontech said.
Use mRNA technology against cancer
"Thanks to this partnership, as early as September, our patients will be among the first to participate in trials and tests for targeted, personalized and precise treatments," said UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay.
"The collaboration will focus on treating various types of cancer and infectious diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide," said Biontech CEO Ugur Sahin. "The UK has been able to deliver Covid-19 vaccines so quickly because of exemplary collaboration from the National Health Service, academic research bodies, the regulator and the private sector." The agreement that has now been reached is a result of the lessons learned from the pandemic: "We have seen that the development of drugs can be accelerated - without taking shortcuts - if everyone works seamlessly together towards the same goal."
Since the company was founded, Biontech has been working on the development of mRNA-based cancer therapies that are specifically aimed at the individual tumor of patients. According to Biontech, several hundred people affected have already been treated with corresponding product candidates as part of studies in recent years. The company's Corona vaccine was the first approved mRNA drug in medical history in 2020.