INDIANAPOLIS and MAINZ, Germany, May 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) and BioNTech AG today announced they have entered into a research collaboration to discover novel cancer immunotherapies.
The companies will seek to use the power of the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells and create possible new treatment options for cancer patients.
Leveraging the scientific expertise between the two organizations, Lilly and BioNTech will collaborate to identify and validate novel tumor targets and their corresponding T cell receptors (TCRs) in one or more types of cancer. These tumor targets and TCRs may then be engineered and developed into potent and selective cancer therapies.
Under the terms of the agreement, BioNTech will receive a $30 million signing fee. For each potential medicine, BioNTech could receive over $300 million in development, regulatory and commercial milestones. If successfully commercialized, BioNTech would also be eligible for tiered royalty payments up to double-digits. In addition, subject to the terms of the agreement, Lilly will make a $30 million equity investment in BioNTech’s subsidiary, Cell & Gene Therapies GmbH, which specializes in the research and development of TCR and chimeric antigen receptor immunotherapeutics. Further financial terms were not disclosed.
“In the past few years, we’ve seen some amazing breakthroughs in immuno-oncology; however, we believe these are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Greg Plowman, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of Lilly Oncology Research. “Lilly’s partnership with BioNTech represents the next wave of cancer immunotherapy and is focused on the identification of functional T cell receptors that can be used to redirect a patient’s natural immune system to fight cancer.”
Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, said, “We are very pleased to collaborate with a leading oncology company such as Lilly. Lilly’s expertise and track record make it an ideal collaborator for both companies to leverage the full power of BioNTech’s functional T cell receptor technologies to develop novel cancer therapies that harness the immune system.” He further added, “This alliance is in line with our strategy to collaborate with companies that have a similar fascination, drive and commitment in developing and commercializing truly innovative and disruptive immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.”
Lilly has a robust oncology pipeline that includes both small molecules and monoclonal antibodies, which are being studied to treat a wide range of cancers including breast, colorectal, liver and non-small cell lung.
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About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at www.lilly.com and http://newsroom.lilly.com/social-channels.
BioNTech AG (Biopharmaceutical New Technologies) is a leading immunotherapy company that researches, develops and manufactures innovative, truly personalized, highly potent and well-tolerated immunotherapies for cancer and other diseases. Its focus is on pioneering disruptive technologies ranging from individualized mRNA based medicines through highly innovative Chimeric Antigen Receptors /T-cell Receptor-based products and antibody checkpoint immunomodulators. Established by clinicians and scientists, BioNTech is striving to develop uniquely individualized therapies through its pioneering research programs. Its clinical programs are supported by an internal molecular diagnostics-based unit that is preparing to launch its first in-vitro diagnostic for breast cancer. Founded in late 2008, BioNTech is privately held, with Strüngmann Family Office as a majority shareholder, and raised the largest initial financing round in the history of the European biopharmaceutical sector. Information about BioNTech is available at www.biontech.de.
This press release contains forward-looking statements about the preclinical collaboration between BioNTech AG and Lilly and reflects Lilly’s current beliefs. However, there are substantial risks and uncertainties in the process of drug research, development and commercialization. There is no guarantee that the collaboration will yield successful results or that either company will achieve the anticipated benefits. For further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, see Lilly’s most recent 10-K and 10-Q filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as may be required by law, Lilly undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements to reflect events occurring after the date of this release.
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