BioNTech To Acquire Cell-Therapy Mfg Facility, R&D Platform from Gilead
BioNTech, a Mainz, Germany-based immunotherapy company, has entered into a purchase agreement with Kite, part of Gilead Sciences, to acquire its solid-tumor neoantigen T cell receptor (TCR) R&D platform and clinical manufacturing facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
TCR therapy is a type of cellular immunotherapy designed to redirect the patient’s immune system in order to recognize and target tumors. 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.
The acquired Gaithersburg facility will provide production capacity to support clinical trials in the US and will complement BioNTech’s existing cell-therapy manufacturing facility in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. The facility will support the development of BioNTech’s pipeline of 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.
Under the agreement, Kite will receive a one-time upfront payment from BioNTech to purchase Kite’s individualized solid tumor neoantigen TCR discovery platform as well as the Gaithersburg R&D and clinical manufacturing facility. Kite’s new manufacturing facility in Frederick, Maryland for commercial production of CAR T-cell therapies is not part of the purchase agreement.
All Kite employees at the Gaithersburg facility will be offered employment with BioNTech prior to the date of closing. BioNTech says it plans to further invest in the site, including hiring additional personnel.