BioNTech (NSDQ:BNTX) announced today that it acquired Kite’s solid tumor neoantigen T cell receptor (TCR) platform and its facility in Maryland.
Mainz, Germany-based BioNTech said in a news release that the acquired clinical manufacturing facility in Gaithersburg, Md., will provide production capacity in support of U.S. clinical trials while complementing the company’s existing cell therapy manufacturing facility in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.
Kite’s Maryland facility will also support the development of BioNTech’s expanding pipeline of novel cell therapies, including cancer product candidates based on its CAR-T cell amplifying mRNA vaccine (CARVac) and Neostim platforms, as well as the newly acquired, individualized neoantigen TCR program.
The company said that all Kite employees at the Gaithersburg plant will be offered employment with BioNTech prior to the closing of the acquisition, while it also plans on further investing in the site and hiring additional personnel as part of that investment.
Under the agreement, Kite will receive a one-time, upfront payment from BioNTech to facilitate the purchase of the TCR discovery platform and the Gaithersburg facility, with financial terms not disclosed. Kite’s new manufacturing facility in Frederick, Md., for the commercial production of the CAR T-cell therapy, is not part of the purchase agreement, the companies said.
“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,” BioNTech CEO & co-founder Dr. Ugur Sahin said in the release. “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.”
“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,” added Kite CEO Christi Shaw. “As a company solely focused on cell therapy for over a decade, our approach to solid tumors 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.