BioNTech SE and Kite - another medical research company, announced they have entered into a purchase agreement for Kite’s clinical manufacturing facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland, as well as its solid tumour neoantigen T cell receptor (TCR) research and development platform.
New Facility Supports BioNTech Development
The facility will add to BioNTech’s existing operations facility in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, and provide an increased clinical production capacity while also supporting clinical trials in the United States. The Kite facility will help BioNTech to administer the development of its expanding research efforts into novel cell therapies, including cancer product candidates and the newly acquired individualised neoantigen TCR program. TCR therapy is a type of cellular immunotherapy designed to redirect the patient’s immune system in order to recognize and target tumours.
According to Ugur Sahin, Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of BioNTech, “The development of individualized cancer therapies is at the core of our work at BioNTech. The acquisition of the Kite facility and its individualized TCR platform allows us to accelerate the clinical development of our cell therapies in the U.S. and advance at the forefront of individualized cell therapies. [...] It also strengthens our presence in the U.S., building on our successful integration of adoptive T-cell and neoantigen TCR therapies as part of our acquisition of Neon Therapeutics last year.”
BioNTech Are Responsible Employers
Highlighted in the purchase agreement, all existing Kite staff at the facility will be offered employment with the new owners before the transition is completed. The company will also provide further job opportunities to external employees to support its growing cell therapy research. Also detailed in the agreement, the transaction will take place in the form of a one time upfront payment, but no other financial terms have been disclosed.
Christi Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Kite, says, “In order to serve more patients that need cell therapy today, Kite is rapidly growing both through global expansion and seeking new indications for our existing approved CAR T-cell therapies. This transaction will enable us to focus our energies and investment on accelerating the reach of our current CAR T-cell therapies and midterm pipeline.” Shaw continues, “As a company solely focused on cell therapy for over a decade, our approach to solid tumours and allogeneic cell therapy will progress through a combination of both internal research and external partnerships as we are an excellent partner for like-minded companies that share our vision of the power of CAR T-cell therapy to create better outcomes for patients.”