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BioNTech SE licences Cresendo Bio’s Humabody technology

BioNTech and Crescendo Biologics have signed a US-$790m deal to develop multi-specific precision immunotherapies .

The three-year collaboration leverages BioNTech’s proprietary multimodal immunotherapy expertise including mRNA-based antibodies and cell therapies with Crescendo’s proprietary Humabody® VH platform  against targets selected by BioNTech. Due to the lack of a light chain, Crescendo’s Humabodies have only 1/10th of the size of a conventional antibody, can be formulated as topical treatment, nose spray, oral drug or infusion and can be expanded in half-life, e.g. when coupled to albumin. Theoretically, the smaller size of the heavy chain domain antibodies might translate into better tumour penetration. Besides CAR-T targeting, Humabodies allow radionuclide and ADC applications and inclusion in oncolytic viruses. The licence deal that includes an undisclosed equitiy payment from BioNTech to Crescendo Biolocics strategically expands the reach of BioNTech’s technology portfolio.

Under the contract, BioNTech will pay US$40m upfront and up to US$750m in milestones plus tiered royalties on global net sales after regulatory authorisation of candidates arising from this collaboration. BioNTech will fund R&D costs of Crescendo and will hold exclusive worldwide development and commercialisation rights to all resulting immunotherapies.

“Crescendo’s platform provides excellent properties for exploiting novel targets and target combinations which we believe has great potential for the development of multi-specific mRNA and engineered cell-based therapies in a variety of disease areas,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of BioNTech.