BioNTech touts differences with Moderna in cancer vaccine race – Endpoints News

BioNTech Chief Strategy Officer Ryan Richardson has highlighted the differences between his company’s cancer vaccine and another being developed by Moderna and Merck, as the companies race for a piece of what could be a major new class of products.

Richardson spoke at an investment conference hosted by SVB Securities last week and his comments were described in an analyst note.

BioNTech has several mRNA cancer candidates in the works, including for advanced melanoma, ovarian cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, according to its website. The rivalry with Moderna and Merck centers around its individualized vaccine, RO7198457 (also known as BNT122), which it calls individualized neoantigen-specific immunotherapy, or iNeST. He is developing the vaccine with Genentech.

Richardson laid out several key differences between the experimental vaccines.

BioNTech uses several formulations that enhance T-cell responses, including a uridine-based RNA formulation and intravenous lipoplex. Richardson also pointed to BioNTech’s four to five week turnaround time for custom vaccines, compared to the 15 to 20 week turnaround time for non-RNA platforms. The company has also made “significant investments” in manufacturing and infrastructure that are different from BioNTech’s Covid vaccine production.

BioNTech published Phase I data last summer on RO7198457 in patients with resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The vaccine was given in combination with atezolizumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor, and chemotherapy. In the 19 patients in the study, half of them saw an increase in T cell response ranging from “undetectable levels to large fractions of all blood T cells”. At an 18-month follow-up, patients with an immune response had longer disease-free survival.

BNT122 is also in phase II trials for colorectal cancer and melanoma and in phase I trials for solid tumors.

Moderna and Merck released data on their neoantigen vaccine in adjuvant melanoma late last year, touting Phase II results in patients with stage 3 or 4 melanoma. patients received the drug Keytruda from Merck, along with doses of a personalized cancer vaccine called mRNA-4157/V940. Nine months later, the treatment had reduced the risk of recurrence or death by 44%, compared with Keytruda alone.

Last month, BioNTech signed a partnership with the UK government last month to accelerate trial recruitment for mRNA immunotherapies in a variety of cancers. BioNTech will potentially enroll the first cancer patient in the second half of this year.

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