The mRNA-focused biotech BioNTech (Nasdaq:BNTX) has partnered with Ryvu Therapeutics (Warsaw Stock Exchange:RVU), which specializes in novel small molecule therapies for emerging oncology targets.
In the deal, Mainz, Germany–based BioNTech will have an exclusive global license to commercialize Ryvu’s stimulator of interferon genes (STING) agonist portfolio. The companies will also partner to develop small molecule programs focused on immune modulation in oncology and potentially other disease areas. The STING agonist collaboration includes both potential monotherapy and therapeutic indications.
BioNTech will pay €40 million in the deal, which includes a €20 million upfront payment plus an equity investment of €20 million. The company will also provide additional research funding. The company could also potentially pay R&D and commercial milestone payments as well as low single-digit royalties.
BNTX shares were up 2% to $167.02. Ryvu’s shares surged 26.50% to zł54.90.
“Small molecules targeting novel immune signaling pathways have a great potential to increase the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies,” said Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, in a news release. “The collaboration with Ryvu provides us with the opportunity to complement our immunotherapy pipeline with a portfolio of potent immunomodulatory molecules.”
The first generation of intra-tumor STING agonists have demonstrated safety in clinical trials but “only modest systemic activity,” as an article in the journal Cancers noted. However, the report pointed out that the development of more potent and selective STING agonists and new delivery systems may promise to improve response rates in immunotherapy.
In 2021, BioNTech emerged as one of the fastest-growing biotech companies with €19.0 billion in revenue thanks to its COVID-19 vaccine, which it developed with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). The sum was nearly 40 times what it earned in 2020.
Ryvu Therapeutics was founded in 2007 and was initially named Selvita and became Poland’s biggest biotech company. In 2019, the company decided to spin out Ryvu to focus on oncology therapeutics. Ryvu now has 170 scientists, including 80 Ph.Ds.
Filed Under: Oncology