Breaking News: Moderna and Immatics Join Forces in a Landmark $1.8 Billion Oncology Pact, Unveiling the Future of Cancer Vaccines

In a groundbreaking move, vaccine giant Moderna and pioneering oncology biotech company Immatics have sealed a transformative research partnership worth over $1.8 billion in potential payments to Immatics.

This extraordinary collaboration will unite Moderna’s mRNA technology, renowned for its game-changing COVID-19 vaccine, with Immatics’ cutting-edge T-cell receptor platform, spanning diverse therapeutic modalities such as bispecifics, cell therapy, and groundbreaking cancer vaccines.

The partnership’s blueprint is built on three pillars of innovation. First, it will harness mRNA technology to enable in vivo expression of Immatics’ half-life extended TCR bispecifics (TCER) designed to target cancer-specific human leukocyte antigens (HLA)-presented peptides.

Secondly, the alliance aims to capitalize on Immatics’ extensive tumor and normal tissue data, harnessed by their target discovery platform, XPRESIDENT, and their advanced bioinformatics and AI platform, XCUBE. These invaluable resources will synergize with Moderna’s unparalleled mRNA expertise to advance the development of mRNA-based cancer vaccines.

Lastly, the collaboration will evaluate Immatics’ IMA203 TCR-T therapy, which targets the preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME), in tandem with Moderna’s PRAME mRNA-based cancer vaccine. The objective is to enhance IMA203 T cell responses through preclinical studies and a Phase I clinical trial, ultimately amplifying their potential impact.

Moderna’s commitment is underscored by a substantial upfront payment of $120 million, setting the stage for Immatics to potentially receive over $1.7 billion in a combination of research funding, along with development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments. Moreover, tiered royalties on global net sales of TCER and vaccine products under the agreement could unlock additional payments, offering a compelling incentive.

Moderna will spearhead clinical development and commercialization efforts for the cancer vaccines and TCER therapeutics, while Immatics will lead preclinical studies and the prospective Phase I trial exploring IMA203 TCR-T in conjunction with Moderna’s PRAME mRNA vaccine. Notably, both companies will retain full ownership of their respective investigational PRAME compounds, with the clinical study funded on a cost-sharing basis.

This strategic partnership aligns with Moderna’s broader mission to pioneer mRNA-based cancer vaccines, exemplified by recent collaborations with Merck and China’s CARSgen Therapeutics. Rose Loughlin, Moderna’s Senior Vice President for Research and Early Development, emphasized that this alliance is set to accelerate the development of groundbreaking oncology therapies, offering newfound hope to patients facing significant unmet medical needs.

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