4SC AG has announced that its wholly owned research subsidiary 4SC Discovery GmbH has entered into an extensive research partnership in the field of cancer medicine with biopharmaceutical company BioNTech AG, Mainz, Germany.
In this service partnership, which has commenced at the beginning of the year and will run for three years, 4SC Discovery will be commissioned by BioNTech to identify new small molecule anti-cancer drugs for defined therapeutic targets and optimize these for BioNTech.
BioNTech is planning to conduct preclinical testing and, if successful, bring the compounds to the clinical development stage.
As part of this collaboration, the two partners are already working on four cancer therapy projects at various stages of early-phase pharmaceutical research.
Under the partnership, BioNTech will pay 4SC Discovery a cost-based service fee as well as success-based payments on achievement of specific development or sales milestones plus royalties linked to future net sales of the products.
This is the second strategic partnership forged by the two companies. In December 2012, 4SC Discovery and BioNTech concluded a license agreement for 4SC Discovery's TLR agonists for use in cancer immunotherapy.
Under the agreement, 4SC Discovery received an up-front payment of EUR 2.5 million from BioNTech and is entitled to subsequent success-based payments on achievement of specific sales milestones and to royalties on net sales.
In return, BioNTech received an exclusive license for the worldwide marketing and commercialization rights to the TLR agonists.
Dr. Daniel Vitt, Managing Director of 4SC Discovery GmbH and Chief Scientific Officer of 4SC AG, said: 'We are very pleased to be entering, within such a short time, into a second strategic partnership with BioNTech - a highly innovative pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy. We believe that we can make a valuable contribution to BioNTech's research and development success with our expertise in compound screening and the discovery and optimization of small molecule drug candidates.'
Dr. Ulrich Dauer, Chief Executive Officer of 4SC AG, added: 'This comprehensive partnership with such a reliable and trusted partner as BioNTech will considerably strengthen 4SC Discovery in the long term. This collaboration also brings us closer to our goal of generating a positive operating cash flow with 4SC Discovery as early as this year. Moreover we are pleased to be able to benefit from the possible continued success of the compounds we have co-researched, thereby increasing the potential to further boost 4SC's enterprise value in the future.'
Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin, Chief Executive Officer of BioNTech AG, noted: 'The partnership with 4SC Discovery - a company with great innovative strength and vast expertise in the discovery and optimization of small molecule drugs for cancer medicine - is an ideal endorsement of our competencies. This collaboration will help to further extend our portfolio of innovative cancer therapies with synergistic products.'