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BioNTech and Ryvu partner to develop immuno-modulatory small molecule candidates

The focus will be on immune modulation within oncology and potentially other disease areas

BioNTech

BioNTech and Ryvu Therapeutics (Ryvu) have entered into a multi-target research collaboration to develop several small molecule programmes for targets selected by BioNTech.

The primary focus of these targets will be immune modulation within oncology, but the company has the option to push into other disease areas. Once candidates have been selected for development, BioNTech will have the option to licence global development and commercialisation rights to them.

BioNTech will also receive a global, exclusive licence to develop and commercialise Ryvu’s stimulator of interferon gene (STING) agnostic portfolio as standalone small molecules, including as monotherapies and in therapeutic combinations.

The STING pathway plays a critical role during infections and autoimmune disease, as well as one of the key innate immunity pathways responsible for antitumour immunity. The therapeutic targeting of STING is therefore seen as a potential new target for cancer therapies as it leads to potent activation of innate and adaptive immune response.

Ryvu’s STING agonists have already shown promising results in preclinical studies, where they were able to activate proinflammatory cytokine production and long-lasting immune responses, BioNTech said in a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ryvu will receive an upfront payment of €20m from BioNTech and will be eligible to receive success-based development, regulatory and commercialisation milestone payments, as well as low single-digit royalties.

BioNTech has also committed to make an equity investment of €20m and will fund all discovery, research and development activities, including Ryvu’s discovery and research activities under the multi-target research collaboration.

“Small molecules targeting novel immune signalling pathways have a great potential to increase the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies,” said Professor Ugur Sahin, chief executive officer and co-founder of BioNTech. “The collaboration with Ryvu provides us with the opportunity to complement our immunotherapy pipeline with a portfolio of potent immunomodulatory molecules.”

Also commenting on the collaboration, Paweł Przewięźlikowski, chief executive officer or Ryvu, said: “Ryvu is excited to bring its expertise in immuno-oncology to work with a global leader in the development of immunomodulatory targeted therapies.

“BioNTech’s expertise in immunomodulatory mechanisms is a great match for Ryvu’s platform, and we fully expect to develop differentiated, therapeutically effective and safe molecules with our combined expertise.”

BioNTech’s oncology portfolio includes 19 candidates across a total of 24 clinical trials, including its novel CAR-T cell therapy candidate BNT211, which the company announced in September had demonstrated encouraging results in patients with relapsed or refractory advanced solid tumours.

Article by
Emily Kimber

1st December 2022

From: Research

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