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BioNTech Dives into Cancer R&D Frontiers, Investing $170M for Dual Drug Assets

BioNTech has recently expanded its portfolio in the realm of cancer research and development. It has sealed a deal worth $170 million with Duality Biologics, thereby securing global rights to two of DualityBio's promising drug candidates.

A Glance at the Deal

The deal terms announced on Monday grant BioNTech the rights to develop and commercialize the two drug candidates globally. However, DualityBio retains the rights in China. This strategic move will enable the German company to broaden its scope within antibody drugs by incorporating antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) into its pipeline. ADCs, which combine the targeting ability of an antibody with a cancer-killing drug payload, have gained considerable attention in recent years.

A Closer Look at ADCs

ADC research has been gaining momentum with several such drugs receiving regulatory approvals in recent years. ADCs offer a more potent strike to cancer cells by achieving higher doses, thanks to their wider therapeutic window, which refers to the dose range in which a drug can be effective while causing minimal toxic effects.

DualityBio's ADCs

The more advanced of the two DualityBio ADCs is DB-1303. This drug is designed to address cancers that express HER2, a protein that drives tumor growth. DB-1303 has reached Phase 2 testing as a potential treatment for solid tumors.

The second DualityBio drug under BioNTech's belt is DB-1311. This preclinical ADC is also being developed for solid tumors. While the target of this ADC has not been disclosed, DualityBio claims that this drug, like its HER2-targeting companion, also has a wide therapeutic window.

Potential Competition

The ability to treat HER2 low cancers could position these drugs as potential rivals to Enhertu, an ADC developed by AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo. Enhertu won its initial approval for breast cancer in 2019 and gained expanded approval last year to cover HER2 low-breast cancer patients, thereby expanding its reach to a broader patient population.

Financial Implications

BioNTech could be responsible for over $1.5 billion in milestone payments for both DualityBio ADCs. If the ADCs reach the market, DualityBio would also receive royalties from BioNTech's sales of the drugs.

BioNTech’s Dealmaking Spree

This deal follows a series of acquisitions and partnerships by BioNTech, including a £362 million deal with AI startup InstaDeep and a $200 million deal for licensing rights to OncoC4’s lead program.

The Future of BioNTech

The financial success of BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccines has fueled its diversification efforts. CFO Jens Holstein stated that the company plans to continue to invest heavily in R&D and is open to more business development moves.


BioNTech's deal with DualityBiologics not only diversifies its portfolio but also reinforces its commitment to pioneering innovative solutions in the battle against cancer. With two promising ADCs in its pipeline, BioNTech is poised to make significant strides in cancer R&D.

"As a science and innovation driven company, we plan to continue to invest heavily in R&D and are willing to invest in mergers and acquisitions as well as collaborations to create future growth for the company," - Jens Holstein, CFO BioNTech.

Indications: COVID-19, Lung Cancer, HER2-Low Breast Carcinoma

Keywords: BioNTech, Duality Biologics, ADC, HER2, Cancer R&D, Drug Development, Dealmaking, Mergers and Acquisitions, Innovation, R&D.


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