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BioNTech, UK to become strategic partner for mRNA cancer therapies

BioNTech, UK to become strategic partner for mRNA cancer therapies

Baku, January 6, AZERTAC

Germany's BioNTech, a company famed for its COVID-19 vaccine, announced Friday that it signed a memorandum to establish a strategic partnership with the UK for mRNA cancer therapies, according to Anadolu Agency.

The partnership aims to provide personalized mRNA cancer therapies for up to 10,000 patients by the end of 2030, either in clinical trials or as authorized treatments, BioNTech said in a statement.

"The UK successfully delivered COVID-19 vaccines so quickly because the National Health Service, academia, the regulator and the private sector worked together in an exemplary way. This agreement is a result of the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic as we all experience that drug development can be accelerated without cutting corners if everyone works seamlessly together towards the same goal. Today’s agreement shows that we are committed to do the same for cancer patients,” said Prof. Ugur Sahin, the chief executive officer and co-founder of BioNTech.

Noting that the collaboration will cover various cancer types and infectious diseases, Sahin said: "If successful, this collaboration has the potential to improve outcomes for patients and provide early access to our suite of cancer immunotherapies as well as to innovative vaccines against infectious diseases – in the UK and worldwide."

According to the statement, the company plans to invest in a UK Research and Development hub in Cambridge with an expected capacity of more than 70 highly skilled scientists.

For its part, the UK Department of Health and Social Care said: "The agreement means cancer patients will get early access to trials exploring personalised mRNA therapies, like cancer vaccines."

The department added that eligible patients could enter clinical trials this autumn.

No two cancers are the same and mRNA vaccines will contain a genetic blueprint to stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells.

"This new partnership will unlock the potential to develop revolutionary treatments in the UK to benefit NHS patients," National Clinical Director for Cancer Prof. Peter Johnson said, adding: "mRNA technology has the potential to be a transformative approach in a number of illnesses, and we hope that by finding out how to vaccinate people against their own cancers we can further improve their chances of staying cancer-free."

In late December, BioNTech announced that it has started clinical trials for an mRNA-based vaccine that could help prevent malaria and reduce related mortality.

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