Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and mRNA vaccine specialist BioNTech SE (NSDQ:BNTX) will collaborate to develop an mRNA-based vaccine to prevent the herpes zoster virus (shingles).
Roughly one million people in the U.S. get shingles each year, according to the CDC.
Currently, the two-dose Shingrix shingles vaccine from GSK (NYSE:GSK) is the only such product available in the U.S. market. Shingrix won FDA approval in 2017.
In 2020, Shingrix generated £1.99 billion ($2.55 billion) in sales internationally.
According to CDC, Shingrix is 97% effective at preventing shingles in adults 50 to 69 years old who received two doses.
Pfizer and BioNTech began working together on an mRNA vaccine for influenza in 2018. Two years later, the two companies began work on a COVID-19 vaccine, which has since become one of the bestselling pharmaceutical products in the world.
The shingles mRNA vaccine collaboration will bring together Pfizer’s antigen technology and BioNTech’s mRNA platform.
The two companies will split development costs and plan on beginning clinical trials in the second half of 2022.
Pfizer plans on retaining rights to the mRNA shingles vaccine in all but a handful of countries, including Germany and Turkey, where BioNTech will have such rights.
The two companies would also split profits from the vaccine. BioNTech will receive $225 million in upfront payments in the alliance. BioNTech could receive an additional $200 million if the vaccine meets regulatory and sales milestones.
Filed Under: clinical trials, Drug Discovery, Drug Discovery and Development, Infectious Disease