BioNTech has acquired Neon Therapeutics in an all stock transaction valued at $2.18 per share or approximately $67m. According to the terms of the deal, Neon will be merged with ENDOR Lights, a wholly owned subsidiary of BioNTech.

Neon is a biotech focused on developing neoantigen-based T cell therapies for cancers, created using its RECON and NEO-STIM technologies.

Its lead programme is NEO-PTC-01, a personalised neoantigen T cell therapy for second-line metastatic melanoma and ovarian cancer. Its second product focuses on pancreatic and other undisclosed solid tumours; this programme is currently moving from target validation to pre-clinical development stages.

In addition to its pre-clinical products, the company has assembled a library of high-quality T cell receptors against various neoantigens across various human leukocyte antigens.

This will complement BioNTech’s oncology personalised treatment focus, which is centred on individualised mRNA-based products, chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies and targeted cancer antibodies.

BioNTech co-founder and CEO Ugur Sahin said: “This acquisition fits with our strategy to expand our capabilities and build our presence in the US and further strengthens our immunotherapy pipeline.

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“I am particularly excited about the adoptive T cell and neoantigen TCR therapies being developed by Neon, which are complementary to our pipeline and our focus on solid tumours.”

Neo CEO Hugh O’Dowd added: “We are very proud of all we have accomplished since we founded Neon and look forward to joining forces with BioNTech to continue to build a business that provides life-changing immunotherapy products to patients battling a variety of cancers.

This deal has been approved unanimously by both BioNTech’s and Neon’s boards of directors, but it still needs approval by Neon’s shareholders and to satisfy customary closing conditions before it can be closed.

Neon’s financial advisor for the deal is Ondra Partners, while its legal counsel is provided by Goodwin Procter LLP. Covington and Burling LLP is BioNTech’s legal counsel.