BioNTech doubles down on an antibody discovery group, scooping up a new team to play for the mRNA specialist

Whatever BioNTech learned about MAB Discovery’s antibody generator over the past 5 years — and a pair of collaborations — it was enough tire kicking to make the messenger RNA outfit want to go all in.

The German mRNA specialist — which likes to deliver code for therapeutics including antibodies into cells — has struck a deal to buy out the antibody generator group from MAB Discovery. MAB, in turn, will keep its preclinical pipeline and go its own way in drug development.

The plan now is to incorporate the antibody specialists with BioNTech’s own growing team working with its RiboMAB platform in mRNA. No financial terms were disclosed with the pact, announced Wednesday morning.

Ugur Sahin

“Having exclusive access to MAB Discovery’s finely-tuned proprietary know-how dramatically expands BioNTech’s targeting ligand repertoire and enables us to directly, rapidly and efficiently produce new mAb candidates,” noted BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin. 

BioNTech is one of a small group of mRNA specialists which are hustling along programs into the clinic. Conceptually, mRNA is simple. Developers are adapting a natural system that dispatches instructions encoded in RNA to trigger the production of therapeuties. Creating a game-changing platform tech that can orchestrate this process, and the manufacturing operations needed to produce it, is enormously complex, inspiring billions of dollars worth of investments in BioNTech, CureVac and Moderna from big players like Sanofi, Genentech and AstraZeneca.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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