BioNTech will purchase $200 million of Autolus Therapeutics’ shares in a private placement to advance both companies autologous CAR-T programs to commercialization.

Millie Nelson, Editor

February 12, 2024

2 Min Read
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On top of the $200 million payout for UK-based Autolus’ American Depositary Shares, BioNTech will also make a cash payment of $50 million to be granted the following rights in exchange:

  • BioNTech will be able to receive mid-single digit royalties on Autolus’ lead chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell candidate obe-cel (obecabtagene autoleucel), which aims to treat adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. However, Autolus will keep the full rights to control the development and commercialization of the candidate.

  • BioNTech can exercise the option to access Autolus’ manufacturing sites in the UK to advance the development of CAR-T candidate BNT211. BioNTech said it aims to have “10 or more ongoing potentially registrational clinical trials in the pipeline” by the end of this year.

  • Autolus will be responsible for leading the expenses, acceleration, and commercialization of AUTO1/22 and AUTO6NG in any oncology indication with BioNTech eligible to receive milestone payments.

  • BioNTech has also been granted an exclusive license by Autolus to develop and commercialize therapeutics using its binders and enables cell programming technologies to be used in BioNTech’s antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and cell therapies. If BioNTech decides to use this, Autolus would be eligible to receive payments with low-single digit royalties on sales of the products.

Regardng the binders, a spokesperson  told BioProcess Insider Autolus has “ a full suite of technology/binders/safety switches which underpin our best-in-class product portfolio and have been part of a number of collaborations we have signed.”

Additionally, BioNTech will have the right to appoint a board member at Autolus, which the spokesperson said will allow “the board member to set broad policies and makes important decisions as a fiduciary on behalf of the company and its shareholders. Issues that fall under a board's purview include mergers and acquisitions, dividends, and major investments, as well as the hiring and firing of senior executives and their compensation.”

Beyond mRNA

BioNTech became a household name through its second collaboration with Pfizer after the success of BNT162b2 (Comirnaty), which was the first messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency use approval in December 2020.

However, the Germany-based firm has looked beyond mRNA as its dominant modality and has invested in cell therapies, various antibodies, and in April 2023 the firm agreed to pay China-based biotech company DualityBio $170 million upfront to develop, manufacture, and commercialize two antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) assets globally.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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