Pfizer, BioNTech to Jointly Develop Shingles Vaccine

By Dan Weil

Pfizer  (PFE Get Pfizer Inc. Report and BioNTech  (BNTX Get BioNTech SE Report on Monday said they would jointly develop what they said could be the first mRNA-based vaccine to prevent shingles.

“The collaboration builds on the companies’ success in developing the first approved and most widely used mRNA vaccine to help prevent Covid-19,” the pharmaceutical titans said.

Messenger ribonucleic acid is a type of RNA that is necessary for protein production.

The New York health-care giant and the German immunotherapy partner said they would “leverage a proprietary antigen technology identified by Pfizer’s scientists and BioNTech's proprietary mRNA platform technology used in the companies’ Covid-19 vaccine.”

Under terms of the deal, Pfizer will pay BioNTech $225 million up front, including a cash payment of $75 million and an equity investment of $150 million.

BioNTech is eligible to receive regulatory and sales milestone payments of up to $200 million. BioNTech will pay Pfizer $25 million for the company’s proprietary antigen technology.

The companies will share development costs. They plan to start clinical trials start in the second half.

Pfizer will have rights to commercialize the potential vaccine on a global basis, with the exception of Germany, Turkey and certain developing countries where BioNTech will have commercialization rights. 

The companies will share gross profits from commercialization of any product.

This represents the third collaboration between Pfizer and BioNTech in the infectious diseases field, following a flu vaccine collaboration initiated in 2018 and the Covid vaccine project begun in 2020.

Pfizer recently traded at $55.41, up 0.6%, and BioNTech at $208.40, down 1.63%.

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