German biotechnology company BioNTech has agreed to collaborate with Roche’s Genentech to develop and commercialise messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) based, individualised cancer vaccines.

The agreement will see the companies jointly develop individually tailored mRNA cancer vaccines applicable against a wide range of cancers, in a bid to potentially provide a new treatment paradigm for cancer patients.

The collaboration will bring together Genentech's cancer immunotherapy portfolio and research programme with BioNTech's individualised vaccines against cancer (IVAC) MUTANOME clinical platform.

The partnership will initially focus on combination studies using IVAC MUTANOME in different types of cancer.

"The partnership will initially focus on combination studies using IVAC MUTANOME in different types of cancer."

BioNTech CEO Dr Ugur Sahin said: “Combining BioNTech's broad proprietary capabilities in the design, formulation, manufacturing and clinical testing of individualised neoantigen-based mRNA vaccines with Genentech's eminent cancer immunotherapy, diagnostic, manufacturing and commercial expertise, will allow us, on a global scale, to drive forward the development of individualised vaccines to the market to treat a broad range of cancers."

Under the agreement, Genentech will pay BioNTech $310m upfront and near-term milestone payments, while both the companies will equally share all development costs and profits for certain programmes.

BioNTech will exercise the right to co-promote certain products involved under the agreement in the US, Germany and other major European markets.

Subject to certain circumstances, BioNTech may exercise sole commercialisation rights for other products that Genentech chooses not to commercialise.

The agreement also states that BioNTech will manufacture mRNA cancer vaccines for clinical studies while Genentech will do so for commercial supply.

Subject to customary closing conditions and clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, completion of the agreement is expected to occur at the end of this year.