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4SC Discovery and BioNTech announce exclusive research and license agreement for 4SC's TLR agonists for cancer immunotherapy
Under the agreement, 4SC Discovery will receive from BioNTech an upfront payment of EUR 2.5 million for its small molecule TLR agonists to be used as an anti-cancer immunotherapy. The programme is currently in early development. BioNTech will receive an exclusive license for worldwide marketing and commercialisation rights of the TLR agonists for use in cancer immunotherapy and in other therapeutic areas. 4SC Discovery is eligible for shares of sublicensing proceeds of BioNTech, payments for specific sales milestones as well as for royalties linked to product net sales.
Dr. Daniel Vitt, Managing Director of 4SC Discovery GmbH and Chief Scientific Officer at 4SC AG, commented: 'We are very pleased to have won BioNTech - a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapies - as an ideal license partner for our TLR agonists. Our goal is now to speed-up and jointly develop a novel breakthrough therapy toward the market addressing the high medical need in the exciting field of cancer immunotherapy.'
Dr. Ulrich Dauer, Chief Executive Officer of 4SC AG, added: 'We are proud that, only a year after launching its operations, our research subsidiary 4SC Discovery has entered into its first early-stage partnering deal with one of the programmes from our research engine and with such a highly innovative partner as BioNTech. After having already secured a number of research service collaborations with biotech and pharma companies this year, this first licensing partnership of 4SC Discovery is another strong signal for the value generation potential of 4SC's research. It is also a clear fulfilment of the promise we made to the capital markets at the beginning of the year when we started 4SC Discovery with the strong intention to focus on the commercialisation of our early-stage research activities.'
Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin, Chief Executive Officer of BioNTech AG, noted: 'We are delighted to enter this partnership with 4SC Discovery - a company with a great track record and vast expertise in small molecule drug discovery in oncology. With 4SC's TLR agonists, we expect to create additional value to our own proprietary cancer immunotherapy platform. We see a particular opportunity since TLR agonists, given as a supplementary therapy, are expected to increase the efficacy of our cancer immunotherapy programmes.'
About 4SC's TLR research programme for cancer immunotherapy
4SC Discovery GmbH has a strong research focus on cancer immunotherapy, besides epigenetics and cancer stem cells. The aim of cancer immunotherapy is to develop substances that can influence the immune system of cancer patients in such a way that the patient's immune system recognises and destroys the primary cancer cells and tumour metastases.
Toll-like receptors represent a promising target class for cancer immunotherapy. They represent a kind of alarm system in the human body. The activation of this alarm system, for instance by 4SC's small molecule substances (TLR agonists), results in the stimulation of the immune system and a release of messenger and signaling molecules in the body, including interferons as well as other cytokines and chemokines. Applying a TLR agonist in combination with a chemotherapeutic drug, results in the destruction of the primary tumour bulk by the chemotherapeutic agent, while the activated immune system can achieve a final 'clean up' of undetectable tumour remainders which are otherwise often the cause for a later relapse of the disease. A further advantage of TLR agonists lies in the combination with various forms of vaccines. Thus TLR agonists have the potential to increase the efficacy of these cancer vaccines.
About BioNTech AG
BioNTech AG (Biopharmaceutical New Technologies) is a spin-off of Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. As a holding company with six subsidiaries, BioNTech researches and develops novel immune-based technologies to boost the body's immune system for the targeted treatment of numerous cancers. The company owns a number of cancer-specific target structures and uses proprietary technology platforms to develop medicines that are specifically directed against these target structures. BioNTech also researches, develops and manufactures diagnostics for the detection of cancer, based upon identification of selectively expressed biomarkers.
About 4SC Discovery GmbH
4SC Discovery GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of 4SC AG that offers technologies and tailored research services covering drug discovery and chemical optimisation through to a preclinical development candidate. The company focuses its services on offering customers in the pharmaceutical, biotech and chemical industries the cost and time-to-market benefits that result from a drug discovery and optimisation process based on a powerful, computer-aided, screening and discovery platform. In addition, 4SC Discovery also applies its comprehensive pharmacological expertise to investigating new compounds in the areas of cancer and autoimmune disease - a strategy also intended to further enhance the clinical development pipeline for the 4SC Group. 4SC Discovery aims to engage in partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotech companies to accelerate the development of its research programmes and further advance their commercialisation.
This document may contain projections or estimates relating to plans and objectives relating to our future operations, products, or services; future financial results; or assumptions underlying or relating to any such statements; each of which constitutes a forward-looking statement subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. Actual results could differ materially, depending on a number of factors.
For more information about 4SC please visit www.4sc.com and www.4sc-discovery.de
The Group managed by 4SC AG discovers and develops targeted small-molecule drugs for the treatment of diseases with a high unmet medical need in various autoimmune and cancer indications. These drugs are intended to provide patients with innovative treatment options that are more tolerable and efficacious than existing therapies, and provide a better quality of life. At the end of September 2012, 4SC Group had 90 employees. The company was founded in 1997. 4SC AG has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since December 2005.
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