vaccine parenteral vialBayer and BioNTech AG, a leading immunotherapy company headquartered in Mainz, Germany have entered into an agreement to develop novel, first-in-class mRNA vaccines and therapeutics specifically for animal health applications.

BioNTech will contribute its proprietary mRNA technology platform, formulation development capabilities, immunology expertise and intellectual property, while Bayer’s Animal Health unit will provide its development expertise and disease know-how. This is the first partnership of its kind making a substantial investment in mRNA therapeutics specifically for animal health applications.

Through the agreement, Bayer secures exclusive rights to use BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology and intellectual property for the development of mRNA vaccines for animal health applications, while BioNTech gains exclusive access to Bayer’s extensive expertise and knowledge in veterinary medicine. Newly created know-how from the collaboration beyond animal health applications, will benefit BioNTech’s extensive human health programme.

The agreement is backed by an investment by the Bayer Lifescience Center (BLSC), which operates as a novel strategic innovation unit in Bayer, directly reporting to Bayer’s Board of Management. The BLSC has the mission to uncover, encourage and unlock fundamental scientific and medical breakthroughs more rapidly by enabling innovative partnerships with entrepreneurial best-in-class biotechnology companies.

Sabine Bongaerts, Head of Drug Discovery Animal Health at Bayer, said: “We are very impressed with BioNTech who have built a very promising and rapidly adaptable mRNA technology platform which represents a unique opportunity in the development of novel therapeutics and new vaccines to meet new disease challenges for both humans and animals. It is really exciting to be able to combine cutting-edge technology, scientific excellence and veterinary R&D and disease knowledge to provide new solutions to protect the health of companion and farm animals.”

“Bayer’s exceptional development expertise, commercial reach and worldwide network of R&D sites, combined with our broad suite of breakthrough mRNA technologies, represent an extraordinary opportunity to address existing and emerging diseases and protect the health of companion and production animals,” commented Prof. Ugur Sahin, Founder and CEO of BioNTech. “This alliance is in line with our strategy to collaborate with companies that share our passion for developing and commercializing truly innovative and disruptive prophylactic and therapeutic products that have a major impact on disease.”

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.